Start Your Research Here

Looking for a topic?
The Library has a large number of encyclopedias, companions, and other reference tools with topical essays written by subject experts. These essays can be helpful in defining and focusing a topic. The accompanying bibliographies identify important secondary and primary sources.

International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest: 1500 to the Present
Explores the history of protest and revolution over the past 500 years.

Gale eBooks
Offers access to a collection of digital encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, and directories in the arts, social sciences, business, and sciences. Formerly known as Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Oxford Research Encyclopedias (Oxford University Press)
Offers peer-reviewed topical introductions and literature reviews written by well-regarded authorities. Available North American and Latin American history.

Oxford Bibliographies (Oxford University Press)  Tutorial
Presents peer-reviewed, annotated bibliographies and expert commentary on current scholarship in selected disciplines. Includes African American Studies, Atlantic History, International Relations, Islamic Studies, and Latin American Studies.

Oxford Handbooks Online (Oxford University Press)
Each handbook introduces and surveys the state of scholarship in a field of study through review articles written by leading subject specialists. Includes handbooks on the French and American revolutions, on modern Russian and German history, on the history of nationalism, and on the decline of empires.


Falvey Library Catalog
Research your topic with keywords or use one of the subject searches below as a starting point. Use the catalog to locate books cited in your course readings.
Use additional keywords such as causes, economic, social, cultural, religion, women, peasantry, or clergy to further limit your results. Use one of the following terms if you are looking for primary sources: sources, documents, narratives, correspondence, diaries, speeches.

WorldCat (FirstSearch)
Presents a combined catalog of the catalogs of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide. WorldCat highlights publications available at Villanova University. Other items can be requested via an inter-library loan request form.

Oxford Bibliographies (Oxford University Press)  Tutorial
Presents peer-reviewed, annotated bibliographies that survey published books on selected topics.

Provides a full text archive of academic journals and books in the humanities, social sciences, and mathematics.

EZBorrow and Interlibrary Loan
Books and journal articles which are not available at Villanova University can be requested from other libraries. The EZBorrow service is only available for book requests.

Journal Articles

The Library subscribes to a large number of history journals. Use the E-Journal Finder or the Articles file in the Library's catalog to look for known references. Request articles from journals that are not part of the Library's collections through interlibrary loan. The Library's blue Findit button serves as a bridge to the full text.

Historical Abstracts (EBSCO)
Covers world history (excluding the United States and Canada) from 1450 to the present.

America: History and Life (EBSCO)
Covers United States and Canadian history from prehistory to the present.

A searchable and browsable archive of full-text core journals and books in the humanities, social sciences and mathematics. This is not a comprehensive database of all history journals.

GenderWatch (ProQuest)
Indexes scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, books, conference proceedings, dissertations, and reports in many disciplines on topics relevant to gender studies. Provides a historical perspective on the evolution of the women's movement and changes in gender roles.

Gender Studies Database (EBSCO)
Indexes academic journals and popular magazines, books, conference proceedings, dissertations and newspapers in many disciplines on topics relevant to gender studies.

Primary Sources in Print

Many primary sources are available in published form and are thus easily accessible as well as often transcribed and edited for your convenience.

Falvey Library Catalog
Use the local catalog to search for primary sources in print books. Books in the library's digital collections are also indexed in the catalog.

WorldCat (FirstSearch)
A catalog of library holdings worldwide. WorldCat highlights books available locally and offers a convenient inter-library loan request option for books that are not available.

Here are a few tricks which will help you to locate primary sources in the catalog:

  • Search by author to find autobiographies, collections of letters, speeches, diaries and more.
  • Official subject terms that generally describe primary sources include diaries, correspondence, personal narratives, speeches, description and travel, sources, manuscripts, "early works to 1800".
  • Keywords that describe primary sources include all of the above plus memoirs, journal, travel narratives, documents.
  • Use keywords that describe classes of people to find primary sources by unknown subjects. Examples include lawyers, soldiers, nurses, African Americans, Indians of North America, children.
  • Newspapers can be tricky, because they are published continuously over many years and may change their names repeatedly. Look them up in a catalog and check whether the paper was published in your period of interest.
    Example: A subject search for Ireland and newspapers will result in a list of locally available Irish newspapers.
  • Ask a librarian for help if you have any questions.

Selected Digital Archives

Here is a selection of digital archives. Visit the online Primary Source Research Guide for a comprehensive list.

New York Times: 1851- (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)
Provides full text access to the complete New York Times archive except for the most recent five years. Use, Nexis Uni, or ABI/INFORM for access to current content.

Washington Post Historical: 1877- (ProQuest)
Contains the full text of the Washington Post and its title variations from 1877 until seventeen years ago.

Black Historical Newspapers (ProQuest)
Offers access to the major African American newspapers of the 20th century: the Atlanta Daily World (1931-2003), the Baltimore Afro-American (1893-1988), the Cleveland Call & Post (1934-1991), the Chicago Defender (1910-1975), the Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005), the New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993), the Norfolk Journal & Guide (1921-2003), the Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001), and the Pittsburgh Courier (1911-2002).

African American Newspapers: The 19th Century (Accessible Archives)
Provides access to the major 19th century African American newspapers including The Christian Recorder (1861-1902), Freedom's Journal (1827-1829), The North Star (1847-1851), and Frederick Douglass' Paper (1851-1863).

America's Historical Newspapers (Readex)
Includes full text of selected early American newspapers published between 1690 and 1922. Villanova University has access to series 1 through 5 and 7.

Gerritsen Collection of Aletta H. Jacobs (ProQuest)
Features books, pamphlets and periodicals related to women%uFFFDs history in general and the movement for women%uFFFDs rights in particular. Coverage is international and extends from the middle of the 15th century to the middle of the 20th century.

American History Collection (Rotunda - University of Virginia Press)
Offers digital access to the authoritative print editions of the papers of major figures of the early republic ranging from John Adams to Woodrow Wilson. New content will be added as it becomes available.

Stalin Digital Archive (Yale University Press)
Provides digital access to a selection of documents from the Russian State Archive of Social and Political History including Stalin's personal papers. Also features the complete Annals of Communism series published by Yale University Press. Scholars can create personalized workspaces, compare documents, save searches and documents, and define tags.

Moscow News Digital Archive (East View)
Features the longest running English-language newspaper in Russia, published from 1930 to 2014. Once the mouthpiece of the Communist party, it later advocated for social and political change. The digital archive includes all available issues of the paper including those of its short-lived sister publication, the Moscow Daily News (1932-1938).

Current Digest of the Russian Press, 1949- (East View)
Presents weekly selections of Russian-language press materials, translated into English. Originally published under the title The Current Digest of the Soviet Press (1949-1991), followed by The Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press (1992-2010), and now The Current Digest of the Russian Press.

American Indian Newspapers (Adam Matthew Digital)
Sourced from the Sequoyah National Research Center (University of Arkansas at Little Rock) and the Newberry Library in Chicago, this newspaper archive covers nearly two hundred years of American Indian history in North America from 1828 to 2016 and offers American Indian perspectives on federal and tribal politics, self-representation, environmental activism, the American Indian Movement, tribal schools and colleges, and many other topics. It also features a series of topical essays.

Citation Management

Chicago Manual of Style Online
The 17th edition of the Manual is the most current. The online version includes a Citation Quick Guide with examples. The Library's website offers a short introduction and overview to the Notes and Bibliography System commonly used in the humanities.