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History: Tutorial - Effective library research: 5. Research databases

This guide introduces you to the skills and resources required for effective library research for history.


​We subscribe to a large number of History databases. Some of the key history databases for your course are detailed below. 


Explore each section and then work your way through the tutorials.


Historical Abstracts

Historical Abstracts is a comprehensive bibliography for material on the history of the world from 1450 to the present. It covers all countries and regions, excluding the United States and Canada. Coverage includes historical and related social science literature.

BBIH & International Medieval Bibliography

The Bibliography of British and Irish History (BBIH) covers the history of British and Irish domestic history as well as the history of British and Irish relationships with the rest of the world, including the British Empire and Commonwealth.

The International Medieval Bibliography is a comprehensive index for Medieval Studies. It covers all subject relating to the Middle Ages from 400-1500 AD.

What is the Bibliography of British & Irish History? How can it help me?

How to search for what you need using the BBHI

The BBHI results page - what you'll see and what it means

Web of Science

Web of Science is a large multidisciplinary research database covering all subject areas, including History.

Top Tip:
This is an index database which means that it does not contain full text. However, content that we subscribe to  can be accessed via links.


JSTOR is a valuable research resource for secondary resources.  You can use it to search and find the full text of published books and journal articles.

Top Tip:
JSTOR is an archive with material only being uploaded periodically. The very latest journal articles and books will not be found in this database. However, it is a good source for older material.


You can Refine your results if you find too many as a result of your initial search.

For example, you can limit it by resource / content type (books or journals) or date of publication.

Use the How to Search JSTOR LibGuide for an introduction to the service, the History resources on JSTOR for subject guidance or take a look at JSTOR's Vimeo channel for instructional videos.

EEBO - Early English Books Online

 EEBO is an excellent resource for primary research, containing full-texts of early printed books from the 16th and 17th centuries.

It has captured the earliest surviving edition of every English-language work published during the first two centuries of printing in England, and converted this material into fully-searchable texts. This means you can search/browse the materials by author and/or topic and theme in order to answer your research questions.

Watch this video to find out how to search EEBO effectively

Starting from the EEBO Home Screen select the Advanced Search option and complete the search form.


You can use the Look up Authors option to help you complete the search form.


The illustration below shows you how to Look for and select Shakespeare from the list

Once you have selected the author click Add to search to continue.

You can also enter your own search terms into a box without using the Look up feature.

In this example, add to your search by manually entering  richard third into the Document Title box

Click on Search once you have added all your search concepts.

You do not just have to search by author and/or title.

You could search by themes such as cunning, disguise, despair, intrigue etc. and discover how these themes appear in the literature across the database. You can add these to the keywords search box.

Once you have run your search you will see a list of matching search results.

If you retrieve too many results you can go back and Refine your search

You can also choose the most relevant results, by using the checkboxes and adding them to your Marked List.

You have a two different view display options either Full Text PDF or Image full text.

Not all formats are available for each item - they will vary between items.

You can adjust the image size if you wish to analyse it in greater detail

































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