Spring 2017 – Matthew Unangst Searching for historical monographs

Searching for historical monographs

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In your third revision, you will begin to collect and investigate at least three secondary sources related to your chosen topic to begin outlining your project. Specifically, you will locate historical monographs and scholarly journal articles.

What I mean by “historical” monograph is not that the book was written in the historical past, but rather that the author is writing about and concerned with a specific set of historical moments and processes.

Perform a search in Search It (WSU’s central book database) from the advanced search field. Type in your keyword(s) or phrase(s) in the search box. Refine “Material Type” to “Books” (right-side limiters). If you are retrieving too many irrelevant books, change your search from “Any” to “in the title” in the advanced search interface. IMPORTANT: Your books must centrally address pre-1980 history related to your topic and research question(s).

Search It contains 100s of millions of records. It labels a large amount of its holdings as “books” even though many are not technically books. Books, as appropriate for this assignment, include (but are not limited to) items published by popular or university presses. Avoid items published by government agencies (considered primary sources), unpublished dissertations, materials available on microform, and material labeled “continually updated sources.” [see Part II Tutorials]

Additionally, avoid tertiary sources, including encyclopedias.

If you’re going to use a book for research, then simply having the record and a brief description of it won’t be sufficient. You will need to obtain a physical copy of the book itself, unless you find an appropriate ebook. Since books are organized by subject in the library, it is highly likely that if you locate the book you’ve selected, you’ll find many more relevant titles on the shelf next to it.