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History of the United States Colonial Period - Reconstruction: Finding Articles: Research Databases

This LibGuide will assist students in the locating of sources in print and online.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search

Key Databases for World History


What is the basic definition of a library database?

  • A library database is an electronic (online) catalog or index
  • Library databases contain information about published items
  • Library databases are searchable
  • The library subscribes to many databases so Chaffey College students  have access to these resources.  When you're searching a database, you are not searching "the web."
  • Library databases allow you to find:
    • Articles in Journals/Magazines/Newspapers
    • Reference Information (i.e. entries from Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, etc.)
    • Books & other documents

Primary Vs. Secondary Sources

PRIMARY SOURCE is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event. Some types of primary sources include:

  • ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS (excerpts or translations acceptable): Diaries, speeches, oral histories, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, official record, newspaper ads/stories
  • CREATIVE WORKS: Poetry, drama, novels, music, art, photographs
  • RELICS OR ARTIFACTS: Pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings

Examples of primary sources include:

  • Diary of Anne Frank - Experiences of a Jewish family during WWII
  • The Constitution of Canada - Canadian History
  • A journal article reporting NEW research or findings
  • Weavings and pottery - Native American history
  • Plato's Republic - Women in Ancient Greece

SECONDARY SOURCE interprets and analyzes primary sources. These sources are one or more steps removed from the event. Secondary sources may have pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources in them. Some types of seconday sources include:

  • PUBLICATIONS: Textbooks, magazine articles, histories, criticisms, commentaries, encyclopedias 

Examples of secondary sources include:

  • A journal/magazine article which interprets or reviews previous findings
  • A history textbook
  • A book about the effects of WWI
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