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Historical Research: Databases and Scholarly Articles

Directories vs. Search Engines


—Directories are lists of web pages sorted by subject. They are like a table of content for the internet.

—These types of indexes are usually created by human beings who have sorted through various websites to find the best fit for a particular subject area.

Because these sites are often sorted by subject, they can be a handy "jump off" point for starting a search.

Search Engines

—Search Engines may be created either by human effort or by "bots" which rove the internet searching for content.

—The bots or spiders or computer programs "crawl" through the web looking for sites related to topics.

—They rely on the ability of the program to identify - either through the efforts of the webmaster or by "reading" a page - the related keywords.

—Meta Search Engines bring together the power of several search engines all in one place. It's a bit like reading through several books at once, looking for particular words or phrases.

—Each site, each search engine, has different features. Some combine features, such as directories and search engines to try to make seeking and finding information easier.

—Next time you search, try using the form of a question to help you narrow down your topic to keywords.

—For instance, "What are the current laws about health reform and insurance companies?"

—Can you spot the keywords?

—Many search engines are friendly to Boolian search methods. For instance, you might try using a wildcard.

Journals in the Page Library Online Catalog

Finding journals in the Page Library Online Catalog is as easy as finding books on the same site.

On the catalog page there is a dropdown menu on the lefthand side.

Select journal and then type the name of the journal you are searching.

If the journal is available, the title will appear.

Select the title to see what issues are available and in what format.

Some publications are in print or on microfilm.

Current periodicals are located on the second floor and archived periodicals are located on the third floor.

Also, journal articles can be ordered through Mobius and OCLC World Cat .

Ebscohost Tutorial

The Ebscohost database is available on the Page Library Database Page .

Searching Electronic Resources on Inman E. Page Library’s Website

The Databases

•Inman E. Page Library has access to myriad periodical, subscription and non-subscription databases.

–Subscription databases normally contain peer reviewed, full-text articles

–Non-subscription databases may or may not contain peer reviewed, full-text articles, but are seen as useful to the patron

--The best way to determine if a database is one you are needing is to take a moment to preview it. Some databases, such as Ebscohost, are really a collection of databases. Some are single content area databases.

–Single content databases often have clues right in their title. For instance  African American Studies focuses on African American history, biographies and concepts.

Where to find the databases

•You can find our online databases from the library website:

•Or you can go straight to:

Social Science Related Databases:


Accessible Archives

Accessible Archives provides access to vast quantities of archived historical information previously available only in microformat, hard copy form or as images. perse primary source materials reflecting broad views across American history and culture have been assembled into comprehensive databases. These databases allow access to the rich store of materials from leading books, newspapers and periodicals then current.

African American Studies

The Oxford African American Studies Center provides one of the most comprehensive collection of scholarship available online which focuses on the lives and events which have shaped African American and African history and culture.

American National Biography

The American National Biography offers portraits of more than 18,700 men & women — from all eras and walks of life — whose lives have shaped the United States of America.


An online service of the American Anthropological Association, AnthroSource offers access to more than a century of full-text anthropological knowledge, across the breadth and depth of the discipline


Civil Rights Digital Library

The Civil Rights Digital Library promotes an enhanced understanding of the Civil Rights Movement by helping users discover primary sources and other educational materials from libraries, archives, museums, public broadcasters, and others on a national scale



EBSCOhost is a powerful online reference system accessible via the Internet. It offers a variety of proprietary full text databases and popular databases from leading information providers.

The comprehensive databases range from general reference collections to specially designed, subject-specific databases for public, academic, medical, corporate and school libraries.

ERIC Documents

ERIC - the Education Resources Information Center - is an online digital library of education research and information. ERIC is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education. ERIC provides ready access to education literature to support the use of educational research and information to improve practice in learning, teaching, educational decision-making, and research




FindLaw's searchable database of the Supreme Court decisions since 1893 (U.S. Supreme Court Decisions: U.S. Reports 150-, 1893-). Browsable by year and U.S. Reports volume number, and searchable by citation, case title and full text


In the First Person (Index only)

In the First Person is a free, high quality, professionally published, in-depth index of close to 4,000 collections of personal narratives in English from around the world


NewsBank (MOREnet)

With unmatched U.S. news content from local, regional, and national sources, this resource is the largest of its kind. Its perse source types include printed and online newspapers, blogs, journals, newswires, broadcast transcripts and videos. Explore a specific issue or event through the detailed coverage provided by local reporting or compare a wide variety of viewpoints from across the country on topics such as politics, business, health, sports, cultural activities and people.


OCLC FirstSearch (Index only)

The OCLC FirstSearch service is a comprehensive reference service with a rich collection of databases supporting research in a wide range of subject areas. It includes bibliographic and full-text databases in addition to ready-reference tools such as directories, almanacs and encyclopedias. 

OCLC WorldCat (Index only)

The OCLC FirstSearch service is a comprehensive reference service with a rich collection of databases supporting research in a wide range of subject areas. It includes bibliographic and full-text databases in addition to ready-reference tools such as directories, almanacs and encyclopedias. At the heart of FirstSearch is WorldCat, containing more than 227 million records representing over 1.7 billion holding locations in libraries worldwide. WorldCat adds value to databases in FirstSearch by linking citations to holdings that helps users find these materials in their own libraries and through the WorldCat Resource Sharing service. You can also limit your searches to the collections of your own library or library group.

Online Periodicals

Our list of free Online Periodicals and Abstracts that might also be useful, but may be more popularly based than the reference databases. Note: Some online journals are supported by online advertisements


Westlaw Campus

Campus Research is an easy-to-use online research service that provides college and university students with access to a comprehensive collection of news and business information and law-related resources.

Wilson Education Full Text

WilsonWeb contains many databases on a wide range of subjects.

This version focuses on Education Full Text.

Caution: Information is provided as-is. Legal and Medical information should not be construed as advice or diagnosis.

Some links, when accessed off campus, allow content access via your Lincoln University username and password. Use the same username and password as your Lincoln University campus email


What are Boolean Operators?


Boolean operators are named after George Boole, an Englishman, who invented them as part of a system of logic in the mid-1800's.


The most common Boolean operators are AND, OR, NOT and NEAR, additionally, () can be used

They are used to combine search terms when doing research

In math, they are used to connect logical statements.




Using the operator AND between keywords will limit the results of a search because all the keywords have to be present in order for an item to be retrieved.




Using the OR operator results in either or both of your search terms appearing in your results. Using the OR operator will result in a larger number of retrieved items and therefore expands the search.




Not helps to limit your search because it takes out a category of undesirable results.


NOT or AND NOT thus narrows or limits a search by excluding the keyword immediately following it.




Finds the terms within 10 words of each other


Domestic NEAR Violence


Would make sure these two words appeared close enough to each other that they would be referring to domestic violence


( )


Used to group together words or phrases, for example

 (domestic NEAR violence) and (police AND trial)

Could be used to search for domestic violence that has been interrupted by the police or gone to trial


Order of Operators 


Just as in math, certain operators are done first. The order for Boolean operators is:

 ( )





Historical Databases Online

The following is a list of historical databases available online, free of charge:

DigitalHistory An interactive, multimedia history of the United States from the Revolution to the present.

ProQuest Historical Newspapers™  The definitive newspaper digital archive.

The History Junkie A self described Online Historic Database-entertaining, yet informative.

Progressive Historians A discussion forum that features links to "obscure databases".

The Westminster Historical Database English History