History: Essentials: starting points

What's on this page

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 videoAdvice 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.

Essential indexes to historical scholarship

Indexes to archives

Find out about people in history

Reference collections and background information

Social Sciences & History Librarian

Profile Photo
Bruce Pencek
Newman Library (MC 0434)
Office #3050
560 Drillfield Dr
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Email is the best way to contact me with questions or appointment requests.

Office hours (walk-in and/or Zoom): T 1-3:00 pm, W-Th 2-4:00 pm (Eastern time), and by appointment.
- virginiatech.zoom.us/j/95623507981
(540) 231-2140

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Interlibrary Loan Services

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.

Temporary, trial access only -- use while you can

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 subject librarians like me. 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-Z guide, including their expiration dates and links to online user evaluation surveys.  As appropriate, I will list here current trials of likely interest to the departments I serve.  Hover over (i) icon to see description as it appears on Databases A-Z directory.