It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
This main subject guide for history identifies principal online resources for historical research at Virginia Tech.
It incorporates some guides to primary sources that also stand on their own: Primary sources online, Social research data sources, and VT Library's Special Collections & University Archives. Related, subordinate guides that build off this one include American History, World history, and Medieval and early Modern studies.
This guide also reproduces tabs that also appear in other subject guides: Recent news/journalism/streaming video; Advice for searching/citing/engaging scholarly literatures; and Accessing VT Libraries' resources from off campus.
This page is organized into these sections: Indexes to scholarly historical literature; Indexes to archives; Biographical sources; Background sources; and contact information for the history librarian.
Historical Abstracts indexes citations, abstracts, and full text from journals, books, and dissertations that cover the history of the world (excluding the United States and Canada) from 1450 to the present, including world history, military history, women's history, history of education, and more. Full text available as HTML and PDF. The database allows limiting results to specific time periods (not just publication dates). You can limit to peer-reviewed sources. 1800s-present.
CLIO Notes for Historical Abstracts will guide you through subjects in World History since 1450 (excluding the United States and Canada) by allowing you to browse through chronologies and brief summaries of significant events and themes in modern history. On the main screen you will find a list of majors time periods and events. Each of these is further divided into subtopics that display informative essays and suggestions for further research. Linked subject terms are also provided that will allow you to search the entire Historical Abstracts database for articles, book citations and dissertations.
The historical period limiter searches the time span of the event described within the record. There are two options to select for era: "b.c.e. (BC)" and "c.e. (AD)"; where b.c.e. refers to Before the Common Era and c.e. refers to the Common Era. If no era is selected, the search limiter defaults to "c.e. (AD)". To search any historical period Before the Common Era, the "b.c.e. (BC)" value must be selected before clicking the search button. It is possible for a record to include more than one historical period. Please note that the year 0 is not searchable.
1950 c.e. - 1960 c.e. will return results that occur between 1950 and 1960 including any events that encompass part or all of the historical period. (For example, a record with the time span 1900-1999 will be included in the above search).
1950 c.e. in the first edit box will return results from 1950-present.
2000 c.e. in the second edit box will return all results up to the year 2000 c.e.
1929 c.e. - 1929 c.e. will match the exact year of 1929 c.e. Any records that encompass this year in their range will also be included in the results.
America: History and Life is an index of literature covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. The database includes citations and links to journal articles, dissertations, primary documents, and book and media reviews. Some content is available full-text (PDF and HTML). Allows limiting to peer reviewed articles, those with references, and to historical periods (date ranges). 1863-present.
The History of Science, Technology, and Medicine database indexes citations and abstracts of journal articles, conference proceedings, books, dissertations, maps, and other materials on the history of science, medicine, and technology. 1600s-present.
Indexes citations from a wide range of important journals in the humanities and social sciences as far back as 1907, making it a useful tool for subject-searching JSTOR journals. Coverage also includes content from H.W. Wilson’s International Index.1907-1984.
Comprehensive, searchable collection of archival finding aids, mainly from the US but with some international coverage. Collection records include linked cross-references by subject heading, genre, personal names, groups, and places as well as providing maps and contact information to make arrangements for examining the collections in person or, occasionally, online. Affiliated with WorldCat .
Powering the library's Discovery Search service, WorldCat is actually a family of very large databases that consolidate records from libraries around the world (including Virginia Tech and the Center for Research Libraries). Use Format menu to limit searches to archival material. Access to items not owned by the Virginia Tech Libraries is through integrated links to ILLiad.
WorldCat Firstsearch, aka "real WorldCat" to many faculty and librarians because it puts the greatest power in the user's hands. VT only.
WorldCat.org, which includes a handy location tool for locating what libraries hold an item near any ZIP code you enter. Freely available. If you want to explore what other libraries have, say No to the box that asks if you want to use VT Discovery.
Gale In Context: Biography provides access to over 600,000 biographies in HTML sourced from reference works, news reports, magazines and academic journals. It provides links to related websites, images, audio, and video clips.
Virtually every course of study — from history to science to literature — is ultimately tied to the study of people. Biography in Context delivers outstanding research support with nearly a million biographical entries spanning history and geography. Just like all the new revolutionary In Context products, it’s a curriculum-aligned resource that offers media-rich content in context that's updated daily to meet the needs of today’s user. In it you’ll find:
600,000+ biographies covering more than 525,000 individuals
170+ award-winning Gale reference titles
50,000 new or updated bios added annually in addition to daily updates to account for awards and events
Integrated reference material, periodical information and multimedia content
Hundreds of hand-crafted topic pages covering the highest-interest features
The included Lives & Perspectives Collection supports high-school curricula and university coursework by providing multidisciplinary content on notable figures and the societal forces that have shaped their lives.
Ancestry Library Edition is an academic version of ancestry.com. Contains coverage of the U.S. and the U.K., including census, vital, church, court, and immigration records, as well as record collections from Canada and other areas. A collection of more than 4,000 databases and 1.5 billion names including U.S. federal census images and indexes from 1790 to 1940; the Map Center containing more than 1,000 historical maps; American Genealogical Biographical Index (over 200 volumes), Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage (over 150 volumes), The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1630, Social Security Death Index, WWI Draft Registration Cards, Federal Slave Narratives, and a Civil War collection.
Answers await everyone—whether professional or hobbyist, expert or novice, genealogist or historian—inside the more than 7,000 available databases. Here, you can unlock the story of you with sources like censuses, vital records, immigration records, family histories, military records, court and legal documents, directories, photos, maps, and more.
American National Biography provides HTML full-text biographical entries and over 2,700 illustrations on 18,700 men and women -- from all eras and walks of life -- whose lives have shaped the nation. It includes access to The Oxford Companion to United States History encyclopedia with entries on all aspects of American history.
The American National Biography offers portraits of more than 18,700 men and women -- from all eras and walks of life -- whose lives have shaped the nation. The ANB features over 2,700 illustrations and more than 80,000 hyperlinked cross-references. Use limited to one concurrent user; if you get a message that access is not currently available; wait a while and try again.
ANB includes access to The Oxford Companion to United States History. This resource explores not only America's political, diplomatic, and military history, but also social, cultural, and intellectual trends; science, technology, and medicine; the arts; and religion. The 900 articles selected for inclusion in ANB Online expand the learning experience, providing context to the biographies and further illuminating the nation's history through defining events (Wounded Knee, the Vietnam War), social movements (Suffrage, Civil Rights), ideologies (conservatism, Social Darwinism),and even natural disasters and iconic sites (the Chicago Fire, Niagara Falls). Where available, links can be found in the left-hand pane, next to the article text.
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is an illustrated collection of more than 57,000 specially written biographies of the men and women from around the world who shaped all aspects of Britain's past. Includes deceased persons only. This resource has a 3 simultaneous user license. Please log out after use so others may access the database.
Indexes citations of biographical articles and book chapters, interviews and profiles, and obituaries covering over 300,000 people: public figures, writers, artists, sports figures, politicians, religious leaders, scientists, educators, military leaders, teachers, actors, and business people.
For educators, students, media professionals, book clubs, researchers, and anyone looking for trustworthy information on notable individuals from antiquity through 1983, Biography Index Retrospective: 1946-1983 is an invaluable resource. Included are entries on individuals that reflect the perspective of the time when they were written. Includes over 627,000 article and book citations, indexing of interviews and profiles of history makers, as well as obituaries, collections of letters, diaries, memoirs, juvenilia, book reviews, bibliographies, and exhibition reviews. Subject-specific thesaurus developed specifically for this database, ensuring the most precise searching.
Biography and Genealogy Master Index enables users to locate biographical entries contained in more than 1,000 volumes and editions of important current and retrospective biographical reference sources. This index contains citations that point to over 15 million biographies on nearly 5 million people, living and deceased, from all time periods, geographical locations, and fields of endeavor.
Gale Ebooks is a collection of searchable ebook reference works, formerly known as Gale Virtual Reference Library. You can search within a particular work or across the entire collection. Individual articles from these sources are presented in HTML and PDF. Illustrations, photos, maps, and multimedia content is often included.
Gale Academic OneFile indexes citations and full text of journal and newspaper articles, books and book chapters, reference works, and multimedia. You can limit to peer-reviewed sources and browse specifically for history topics. Covers 1905-present.
Like most academic libraries, Virginia Tech has a department devoted to acquiring, preserving, and making available rare and unique primary-source materials. This guide provides a detailed overview of the ways special collections and archives, here and elsewhere, are indeed special.
Advanced reference resource allows users to explore methods concepts to help them design research projects, understand particular methods or identify a new method, conduct their research, and write up their findings. With its focus on methodology rather than disciplines and sophisticated search options, SRMO can be used across the social sciences, health sciences, and more. Incorporates full-text content from over 720 books, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks, articles, specially commissioned videos, and cases illustrating the application of particular methodologies.
The Methods Map is an exciting and innovative visualization tool that can be used to discover relationships between methods, to discover new methods and to find content related to them. Underpinning the Methods Map is a new taxonomy of social science research methods, developed by SAGE, and containing over 1,400 unique terms.
The Methods Lists are lists of content within the product that our users have selected and want to share through this product. You can create your own lists, either for private use, or to share with others on the site.
The Little Green Books are our famous series, Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences. This entire series is available on SAGE Research Methods, with additional tools across the site to filter your search on just these titles.
All current Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff, regardless of your location, may request through ILLiad for materials:
not owned by Virginia Tech (books, articles from journals and conference proceedings, book chapters, standards, and technical papers)
owned by Virginia Tech but are unavailable for use (print books)
owned by Virginia Tech and available in print (scans of articles from journals and conference proceedings, book chapters, standards, and technical papers)
We ship requests via UPS to users outside the immediate Blacksburg area (Montgomery, Giles and Pulaski counties).
Articles, book chapters, and many technical papers are delivered in PDF format to your ILLiad account. Occasionally, due to copyright restrictions, a paper copy of an article or standard is held for your at the Newman User Services Desk or sent o the mailing address listed on your account.
Tech's University Libraries seek user input about possible purchases of online resources; October, February, and (sometimes) April are the primary trial months.
Let us know how (if...) a trial fits the research, teaching/learning, and public service missions of the university. Share your judgments through the short survey linked to each trial blurb and/or more detailed remarks in an email to a subject librarians. If we do not receive favorable comments about products on trial, we will not buy them.
All active trials are listed in a sidebar on the Databases A-Zguide, usually including their expiration dates and links to online user evaluation surveys. Here I list current trials of likely interest to the departments I serve.
The VT Library is not running trials at this time.