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History Subject Guide: Online library support

Help and guidance on finding resources in your subject area


Welcome to the History Subject Guide

  Use this guide to help you make the most of the library and information resources and services.  

New to the University?  Explore the Getting Started with the Library guide to learn all about the Library basics. 

Your Librarian at Exeter

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Nicola Nye

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Where to start your search

Library Search

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Search across the print and online collections for books, chapters, articles, journals and lots more. 

For more in depth research in databases and archives, use the A-Z Databases List.

Key History Databases

These databases allow you to quickly search across the global literature and identify academic publications in your research field.

The collections below are multidisciplinary and extensive. They contain journal articles, books, research reports, conference proceedings and more.

One of the key benefits of using these databases is that every search searches across multiple sources. Another is that the sophisticated search functions enable you to carry out more in-depth and complex searches than Library Search.

Reference sources provide an overview of a topic area or period and often include key works, thinkers and scholars in your area of study.

Here are a selection of reference sources recommended for history students and researchers:

Early Modern Studies databases

The following databases will help you discover material related to Early Modern studies.

A more extensive list, which has been organised by location, time period and theme, can be found in the Primary Sources LibGuide.

You have access to further resources via the History subject list area in the A-Z Databases list

Imperial and global history databases

The following databases will help you discover material related to the subject of Imperial and global history.

A more extensive list, which has been organised by location, time period and theme, can be found in the Primary Sources LibGuide.

You have access to further resources via the History subject list area in the A-Z Databases list

Maritime Historical Studies Databases

The following databases will help you discover material related to Martime Historical studies.

A more extensive list, which has been organised by location, time period and theme, can be found in the Primary Sources LibGuide.

You have access to further resources via the History subject list area in the A-Z Databases list

War, State and Society databases

The following databases will help you discover material related to war, state and society.

A more extensive list, which has been organised by location, time period and theme, can be found in the Primary Sources LibGuide.

You have access to further resources via the History subject list area in the A-Z Databases list

Old style pharmacyMedical History databases

The following databases will help you discover material related to Medical History.

A more extensive list, which has been organised by location, time period and theme, can be found in the Primary Sources LibGuide.

You have access to further resources via the History subject list area in the A-Z Databases list

Medieval Studies databases

The following databases will help you discover material related to Medieval studies.

A more extensive list, which has been organised by location, time period and theme, can be found in the Primary Sources LibGuide.

You have access to further resources via the History subject list area in the A-Z Databases list

Gender & sexuality

The following databases will help you discover material related to the subject of Imperial and global history.

A more extensive list, which has been organised by location, time period and theme, can be found in the Primary Sources LibGuide.

You have access to further resources via the History subject list area in the A-Z Databases list

South Asia databases

The following databases will help you discover material related to South Asia.

A more extensive list, which has been organised by location, time period and theme, can be found in the Primary Sources LibGuide.

You have access to further resources via the History subject list area in the A-Z Databases list

EEBO is an excellent resource for primary research.

It contains full-texts of early printed books from the 16th and 17th centuries.

You can view the material as originally published, in order to appreciate the text in its original form and also examine similarities and differences between variant versions of the texts.

Comprehensive online help is available to help you make the most of the service.

Mass Observation was a pioneering social research organisation which encouraged British people to submit diary entries, reports, essays and photographs about their lives between 1937-1965.

Mass Observation Project 1981 -2009 relaunched the project, again recruiting volunteers to write about their lives and opinions.

The archives are available online and provide insight into the cultural and social history of Britain.

You can access the online archives using the links below:

Box of Broadcasts (BoB) is an extensive archive of free-to-air TV programmes and radio shows

  • Search the archive to find programmes relating to your subject
  • Record programmes from over 65 free-to-air channels and add to the archive for others to view
  • Create your own clips and playlists

Theses are academic sources of information and the result of substantial primary research into specialised topics. They provide very detailed data and analysis, and can provide information that is unavailable elsewhere. Their bibliographies can be a useful source of wider reading on a topic. They are extremely valuable sources of information.

Search for University of Exeter, UK and international theses here: Theses LibGuide.

Use the A-Z Database List to access the full list of databases the library subscribes to.  

You can browse by subject e.g. History or by type (e.g.maps, news, images etc.) or search to find your required resources.

Explore the full A to Z Database list:

  • Statistics is the science of collecting, analysing and presenting numerical data.

  • Statistical data can be found on a huge variety of subjects, for example the economy, employment, the environment, government, health, international trade, manufacturing, and population.

  • They can be a vital source of information for your studies.

Find out more on the Statistics LibGuide.

Explore research materials available elsewhere

  • Library Hub Discover - Search the catalogues of over 100 major UK and Irish national, academic and specialist libraries to find books, journals and other materials

  • WorldCAT - Search the collections of over 10,000 worldwide libraries  

  • The European Library - Access to the collections of the 48 National Libraries of Europe and leading European Research Libraries.

  • The Library of Congress -  Catalogue records of the print and digital resources held in the Library of Congress collections (USA)

  • LibWeb - Find online library catalogues worldwide

  • CORE - Search the world's largest collection of open access research papers

Primary Source collections

The University has access to an extensive range of online primary source materials. These contain digitised copies of documents, letters, books, photographs and other primary sources. 

The Primary Sources Libguide will help you identify the best databases for your research. The collections have been categorised by Country, Time Period and Theme so that you can quickly find the most relevant collections for your research.

Our comprehensive online news collections range from local news to news publications from around the world and span a wide range of dates.

 

Find out more on the News Archives LibGuide 

The Library's Special Collections department houses primary sources in many formats including letters, diaries, manuscripts and photos, which can be accessed via their dedicated reading room in the Research Commons, Old Library. 

Visit the Archives and Special Collections LibGuide for more information.

Find out how to search the archives for rare books and materials here.

Use the Archive Catalogue Search to find out what is available.

 
Devon & Cornwall have a number of local archives that you can use when searching for primary sources. Find out more here.

 


These databases are nationally significant archives of the UK, covering many different themes, subjects and sources.

Effective Searching & Referencing

It is important to plan your search strategy, and manage your search results so that you get the most from your online searching.

Keep a record of all the material you need to cite in your assignments, papers, projects etc. 

Use the Search Techniques and Referencing guidance to assist you.

  • It is  easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of information available to you.  
  • Invest time in planning an effective online search strategy so that you can quickly and easily discover relevant and high quality information. 

 

As you search you need to keep track of all the material you will be using in your academic work so that you can cite and reference it appropriately.

Top Tip

Always check your module handbook for specific departmental guidance on the style required for your assessed works and dissertations.  Check with your personal tutor or dissertation supervisor if you need clarification.

For more guidance take a look at:

Find out more about the skills support available to help you develop a range of study skills including essay writing, referencing, critical reading and getting the most out of lectures.

Study Skills Support

Linking the University of Exeter Library to Google Scholar 

Google Scholar is an online, freely accessible search engine for locating scholarly literature  from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. But not all full text content is free to access.

However, it is possible to link the University of Exeter online library to  Google Scholar, making it quick to identify and access library full text content.

Just follow these instructions:


 

Click on Check for this @ Exeter or Access this @ Exeter options to view full text article:

Sage Research Methods Online (SRMO) is a great resource to use when you are planning and conducting your research. 

It is targeted at social science researchers but is useful across all subject areas as it covers key research methodology topics that are applicable across the research spectrum.

Sage have produced a comprehensive LibGuide to help you get the best from the resource.

History online tutorials

Dissertation students

If you are a dissertation student, at some point in your research, you may need to access resources held outside of the university library collections.

The library offers a number of services to help you access these materials. Find out more by exploring the guides below.

Library and Archives Access Bursary 
(Financial help to visit other libraries and archives)

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