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HIST 408J: Global Water in the Modern Era: Capitalism, State Power, and Environmental Crises: Background & Secondary Sources

Background sources

Background or "reference" sources are a great place to start your research and can be extremely useful, especially if you're venturing into a new research area for your project. They include bibliographies, scholarly encyclopedias, historical dictionaries, handbooks, and other works that provide overviews of topics and suggestions for finding both primary and secondary sources.

Note on databases

Databases are collections of digital resources made up of a potentially wide array of materials, such as academic journal articles, historical newspapers, digitized special collections (e.g., rare books, archival papers), and more.

Why databases instead of Google

  • Academic databases are finite collections, whereas Google (even Google Scholar) searches the whole of the Internet, which is VAST.
  • Academic databases have better quality control, as they rely on trained professionals to make sure the articles and book chapters are truly scholarly. Google, on the other hand, relies on an algorithm. 
  • Academic databases offer more ways to refine your search, so you get more precise results.

Related Yale Library Guides

Secondary/subject databases in History

Subject-specific databases are a key resource for finding secondary literature, including the latest scholarly journal articles in the field, and the main subject databases for finding historical literature are:

Searching these databases will allow you to check for the latest scholarly articles, reviews of books, citations to book chapters, and more in a wide array of historical journals.

Secondary/subject databases in Environmental Studies