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Tutt Library Research Guides
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HY 410/420 Senior Seminar: Get Started

General Encyclopedias

Take a few minutes to browse the history reference books. Call numbers for U.S. history begin with E151 and go through E889. For a detailed list, check out the Library of Congress Classification Outline for History of the Americas.

Find Historical Dates, People, and Places

World History: Hyperhistory is another good resource with over 3000 files covering 3000 years. Search by people, events, map, culture, politics and more!

Get Background Information Fast: Beyond Wikipedia

Encyclopedias and other reference books provide excellent historical overviews that will help you put topics -- and the historians writing about them -- into context. The resources are a great way to

  • Brainstorm ideas
  • Narrow an existing topic
  • Glean keywords for catalog and database searches
  • Leverage bibliographies for the next stage of your research


Browse the history reference books. Call numbers for history begin with D and go through F975.

D1-2027 World History (General)
DA1-DR2285 Europe
DS1-937 Asia
DT1-3415 Africa
DU1-950 Oceania (Australia; New Zealand)
E31-49.2 North America
E151-975 United States
F1001-1145.2 Canada
F1201-3799 Latin America

For a detailed list, check out the Library of Congress Classification Outlines for World History and History of the Americas.

Create A Keyword List

The right keywords help to effectively search catalogs, databases, and the Internet.

  • Start by compiling a list of keywords that represent each concept of your topic.
  • Try the Search Generator from Northwest Missouri State University to help you create a keyword search.
    • Use more specific terms when searching databases versus catalogs.
    • Look for additional terms in your search results. Add these to your list.
    • Search Google Books for keywords in the title, table of contents, subject headings, and text of books.

      You may need to do multiple searches in each database to research your topic. However, with patient and persistence, you'll find relevant material.

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