America: History & Life indexes and abstracts articles published in over 1,700 history journals going back to 1910. The database also includes selected full text coverage.

This tutorial demonstrates how to find scholarly journal articles, how to link to the library’s e-journals and how to request articles through interlibrary loan from other libraries.

For the purpose of this exercise our topic will be:

"The Nativist Movement in Philadelphia in the Early Republic."

The database search interface should be on the right side of the screen. You may have to log in with your ldap password first, if you are off-campus. Use the navigation arrows at the bottom to advance to the next page.

Click on the right arrow below to start.

Basic Keyword Search

We will start with a simple search for

nativis* and Philadelphia

The asterisk truncates nativism to capture the various forms of the word: nativism, nativist, nativists, etc. Type the search terms into one of the search boxes and click on Search.

How many results did you get?

How many academic journal articles are among the results?
Hint: Look under Source Types.

Check the box next to Academic Journals to limit your search results to scholarly journal articles and advance to the next screen.

Subject Search

1 of 3You now have less than 50 records for journal articles. Notice that not all the results are relevant. Search results can be limited by subject to focus results further.

Click on Subject under Refine Results on the left side of the results screen. This will open a list of subjects assigned to the records in your results list. Behind each subject is a number which indicates how often a subject occurs in the results list.

How often does the subject Nativism occur in your results list?

Check the boxes next to the subjects Nativism AND Philadelphia (Pa.) to further limit your results list and advance to the next screen.

Subject Search

2 of 3You now have less than 10 results. Click on the title of the first record in your results list to view the full record. The Subject Terms assigned to this record are links that will retrieve ALL records with the same subject. While subjects under Refine Results narrow results, subject links in a record generally expand results. Click on the subject term "nativism" to expand your search to all records with this subject. 

How many records are articles in peer-reviewed journals?
Hint: Look under Limit To on the left side of the search screen.

Advance to the next screen where we will review the current result list.

Subject Search

3 of 3A quick review of the results tells you that nativism is a recurrent phenomenon in American history. To further limit results to nativism in the early republic, click on the Show More link under Limit To on the left side of the search interface. Enter "1780 c.e. to 1850 c.e." under Historical Period in the pop-up window. Select Academic Journal under Publication Type and Article under Document Type. Make sure the Peer Reviewed box is checked. Now click on Search.

You should have around 90 articles that discuss nativism in the early republic. But don't forget that you want to write about nativism in Philadelphia. Go back to the Subject limit on the left side of the search screen and select Philadelphia from the menu of subjects. You may have to click on Show More to see all subjects. You should have less than ten articles now. Next we will take a closer look at display customization.

Display Customization

The default display lists twenty records per page, but you can change this setting under Page Options. You can also change the sorting of your results from Publication date to Relevance. Feel free to investigate these customization features.display optionsNote that not all results are available as full text articles. On the next screen we will take a closer look at a single record.

Record-level Information

Take a closer look at Charlene Mires' article "Slavery, Nativism, and the Forgotten History of Independence Hall." published in the journal Pennsylvania History. Click on the title of the article to open the full record. The short abstract summarizes the article in a few sentences. Add this record to a folder by clicking on the appropriate icon under Tools on the right side of the screen. The record will stay in the folder as long as you are actively searching. Email or save your results before you take a break or you will risk losing them.record vewAmerica: History & Life does not include the full text of this article, but the library has a subscription to Pennsylvania History. Click on the blue find it button to link to the full text. find it will open a new tab or a new browser window on your screen. You will need to toggle between two tabs or windows to follow instructions.

Full Text via "find it"

As you can see, the find it pop-up window includes a link to the full text of the article:full text linkReturn to the results list with the help of the navigation link at the top of the record and advance to the next screen.navigation

Interlibrary Loan via "find it"

Now locate the article "A Selection of Sources Dealing With the Nativist Riots of 1844" by Raymond Schmandt. Click on the title to open the full record. Add this record to the folder as well. Then click on find it to link to the full text. The find it pop-up window indicates that Villanova does not have a current subscription to the journal, but keeps older issues in remote storage.interlibrary loanClick on the "Use ILLIAD to request electronic delivery...." link. Log in with your ldap password. You may have to set up an account at this point. Submit your account information, if prompted for it, and close the ILLIAD account window. Click a second time on "Use ILLIAD to request electronic delivery..." to open a pre-filled request form. Do not submit the request unless you want to have a copy of this article. You will be notified via email when the pdf file of the article is deposited in your account. It generally takes one to two business days.

Email Bibliographic Records

Click on the Folder icon at the top of the screen to review your article selection. Select both articles and click on the Email icon on the right side. Type your email address in the space provided and select Chicago/Turabian Humanities style from the Citation Format drop-down menu. Click on Send to email the records to manager


Let's review what you just learned about America: History & Life.

What is America: History & Life?

Can you get the full text of all the journal articles indexed in America: History & Life?

Can you limit search results to scholarly journals?


Please enter your name and email address to retrieve a copy of your completed quiz.

You can enter multiple email addresses separated by commas. If you are doing this for a class, you may need to enter your instructor's email address also.