American Women's History: A Research Guide
Research Tools: Finding Secondary Sources
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Library Catalogs & Related Tools

Begin by searching your local library's catalog for books about your topic. Use the notes and bibliography sections of these books to discover additional sources.


Books in Print New York: R.R. Bowker, 1948- . Almost all libraries will have the printed version of this multivolume set and/or offer access to one of several online versions.

WorldCat [online]. [Dublin, Ohio] : OCLC 1997- .
WorldCat contains over 40 million records describing books and other materials owned by libraries around the world. Use WorldCat to determine which books have been published, recently and in the past, about a specific topic. Each record in WorldCat indicates which libraries own a particular book.

E-Book Collections

History E-Book Project [online]. New York: American Council of Learned Societies, [2002-].
See The History E-Book Project: A Bibliography of Women's History Titles for more information.

netLibary [online]. Boulder, Colo. : NetLibrary, 1999- .
Digital collection of thousands of works from academic presses. Can conduct a full text search of the entire collection or of individual titles.

Periodical Indexes & Databases

Keep in mind that annual and cumulative indexes of specific journals (e.g., California History) often provide much more detailed coverage of journal content than databases such as America: History & Life.

America: History & Life [online]. Santa Barbara, CA : ABC-Clio, Inc., 1998- .
Best coverage of history journals of any index. Search flexibility.

Arts & Humanities Citation Index. Philadelphia: Institute for Scientific Information, 1977- .
Citation indexes are particularly useful because they show which journal articles have cited specific works or authors. For example, a researcher tracing the historiography of studies of plantation mistresses could search for citations to Clinton's The Plantation Mistress and to Fox-Genovese's Within the Plantation Household.

Feminist Periodicals: A Current Listing of Contents. Madison, Wisc.: Women's Studies Librarian, 1981- . Quarterly. Reprints the table of contents pages of over 100 magazines and journals, many of which are not covered in other indexes.

History Cooperative. [Champaign, IL?] : The Cooperative, 2000- .

JSTOR [database]. New York: JSTOR, 1995- .
Full-text coverage of decades of major history journals; More info. from publisher

ViVa [online]. International Institute of Social History, 1994- . Annual. Available from
Includes over 5400 bibliographic records describing articles published from 1975 to present; updated more quickly than America: History & Life, but does not include abstracts.

Women's Studies International [online]. Baltimore, Md.: NISC USA. [Factsheet]

Finding Theses/Dissertations

As a general rule, theses/dissertations not written at your university will have to be obtained through your library's interlibrary loan department, or purchased from Dissertation Express.

Directory of Dissertations in Progress [online]. [Washington, DC]: American Historical Association, [1999- ]. Available from:

Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) [online]. NDLTD, c2002- .
Online access to theses and dissertations completed at a small but growing number of universities.

ProQuest digital dissertations [online]. [Ann Arbor, Mich.] : UMI, 1999- .
Standard source for locating theses/dissertations; formerly known as Dissertation Abstracts, this database includes only broad subject headings.

WorldCat [online]. [Dublin, Ohio] : OCLC 1997- .
Researchers will often find references to theses and dissertations in WorldCat that are not in Digital Dissertations.

Finding Archival/Manuscript Collections

Additional Women's Collections [online]. San Antonio: Archives for Research on Women and Gender, University of Texas--San Antonio, [1996- ].
Annotated links to repositories, organized by state.

Archives USA [online]. [Ann Arbor] : ProQuest Information and Learning Co., 2001- .
Access to holdings and contact information of more than 5,480 repositories; [more info. from publisher]

Hinding, Andrea, ed. Women's History Sources: A Guide to Archives and Manuscript Collections in the United States. New York: R. R. Bowker, 1979. 2 vols.
The definitive guide in the field, Women's History Sources provides brief but informative descriptions of over 18,000 collections in almost 1,600 repositories throughout the United States.

Repositories of Primary Sources [online]. [Moscow, Idaho : University of Idaho Library, Special Collection and Archives, 1996- .
Links to 5300 web sites describing archival and manuscript holdings.

RLG's Archival Resources [online]. Mountain View, Calif.: Research Libraries Group, 1998- . more info. from publisher

500,000 records of archival & manuscript collections in libraries, museums, state archives, and historical societies.

WorldCat [online]. [Dublin, Ohio] : OCLC 1997- .
Bibliographic descriptions and cataloging information for over 40 million books, manuscripts, and other types of sources. Researchers can limit searches to "Archival Materials" on the advanced and expert search screens.

Electronic Discussion Lists

H-Net Discussion Log Search Page One can search across all H-Net lists before posting a request for information to specific lists.

American Women's History: A Research Guide