The main search tools for finding books, articles, databases, archival collections, and more at Yale (and beyond) can all be found on the "Find, Request, and Use" page of the library's website. Here are a few quick refreshers, but be sure to visit the page for a full overview:
Get It @ Yale brings together three services of the Yale Library that greatly facilitate research work: Borrow Direct, Interlibrary Loan, and Scan & Deliver. Borrow Direct will furnish rapid delivery of titles from a small group of partner libraries if the book isn't available at Yale. Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a larger library partnership that can provide scans of journal articles that aren't available at Yale as well as loans of physical items such as books and microforms. Scan & Deliver will fulfill requests to have journal articles, book chapters, and limited pages from microforms held in the Yale Library scanned by members of the library staff and provided to you electronically. All of the Get It @ Yale services help to make your research more efficient, so please don't hesitate to use them or to reach out with any questions about them as you work on your essay!
Don't hesitate to reach out to a subject specialist to schedule a research consultation or for assistance finding resources for your research!
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.
Includes book series such as the Cambridge Histories and Cambridge Companions. Examples of individual titles include:
A large collection of annotated bibliographies arranged by subject. Just a few examples of articles that you will find here include "Empires and Colonialism" (Sociology module), "Settler Colonialism" (Anthropology module), and "Settler Colonialism" (Literary and Critical Theory module).
A useful set of volumes with detailed and informative articles on scholarly research. Includes works such as The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Race in American History, The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Politics, and The Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theory.
Includes articles such as "Women and Patriarchy in Early America, 1600-1800," "Ideas of Race in Early America," "Late 19th-Century U.S. Indian Policy," and "Women, Militarized Domesticity, and Transnationality in the U.S. Occupation of Okinawa."
Includes many reference works such as A Companion to African American History, A Companion to American Indian History, A Companion to the History of American Science, and The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Cultural Geography.
Subject-specific databases are a key resource for finding secondary literature, including the latest scholarly journal articles in the field, and some of the main subject databases for finding scholarly journal literature are:
The search portal for finding archival collections at Yale is Archives at Yale, which allows you to search the finding aids to thousands of collections that are held by the Library's special collections units -- e.g. the Richard Henry Pratt Papers and Critical Indigenous Photographic Exchange Collection, both at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, John Collier Papers at Manuscripts and Archives, and other collections.
Beinecke Library, Manuscripts and Archives (located within Sterling), and the other special collections units within the Yale Library are currently open for research to Yale-affiliated students, faculty, and staff. For more information and general help with navigating Yale's special collections, please consult the Guide to Using Special Collections at Yale University.
Most of Yale’s archival collections are stored off-site and must be requested in advance. You can make those requests directly in the finding aid for materials in most Yale University Library special collections. If a request cannot be made directly via the finding aid, a note in Archives at Yale will indicate whom to contact to access the materials. Please note not all materials you may find in Archives at Yale are open for research.
Just remember, not all archival material available at Yale is in Archives at Yale. If a collection is less than three boxes, there may simply be an Orbis record for it. You can go to the Advanced Search in Orbis and limit the “Location” to a specific special collection, or limit the “Type” to Archives or Manuscripts. Some archival materials might be recently acquired and not in any catalog or database. If you think that is the case, ask a librarian, curator, or archivist for assistance.
Yale Library licenses many collections of digitized historical materials that may be of interest, depending on your research topic. Here are just a few examples: