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HIST 154J: Neighbo(u)ring Democracies: Representative Politics in the United States and Canada, 1607-Present: Home

This guide is intended for students in Dr. Brendan Shanahan's course and provides an overview of key resources in the Yale Library for your research papers this semester.

Yale Library Search Tools

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:

Freely available digitized content


Full-text searchable database of content digitized by many academic libraries. Yale is a member of the HathiTrust consortium, so if you're logged onto the Yale network when searching HathiTrust, you'll be able to download content in PDF format.

Background sources

Background or "reference" sources are a great place to start your research. Reference works include bibliographies, scholarly encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and other sources that provide overviews of topics and suggestions for further reading.

Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History
A scholarly encyclopedia of potentially great use in the early stages of your research project. Each article has a discussion of the literature, including primary sources -- often a great starting point for finding more sources. One or two examples of several potentially relevant articles are:

Cambridge Core

Link to the general collections of Cambridge University Press, including the Cambridge Histories and Cambridge Companions.

Oxford Bibliographies
An extensive collection of annotated bibliographies often pointing to both primary and secondary sources. Can be searched and browsed by subject area - for instance, Political Science.

Oxford Handbooks Online
Lengthy chapters in the Oxford Handbooks usually provide helpful overviews of scholarly topics and historical literature, along with suggestions for further reading. A number of the handbooks may be helpful depending on your research topic. Examples include:

Wiley Online Library

A large collection of resources. The Wiley Companions will be especially useful. Navigate to "Humanities" and then "History" in order to find a detailed listing of titles by subfield.

Library contacts

Bill Landis, Teaching Librarian, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library -

James Kessenides, Kaplanoff Librarian for American History -

Scott Libson, Special Collections Librarian, Yale Divinity Library -

Josh Cochran, Curator for American History and Diplomacy, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library -

Secondary Sources/Subject Databases

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:

  • America: History and Life Provides historical coverage of the United States and Canada and indexes over 2000 historical journals. A key resource if you are searching for historical scholarship related to your research project.
  • Historical Abstracts Provides historical coverage of the world, not including the United States and Canada, from the 15th century to the present. Indexes thousands of journals in multiple languages.

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. Please note: the full text of articles will not always be available in these databases. If you see the "YaleLinks" icon instead of a PDF, click on the icon to discover whether we have online access to the article.

Guides to Historical Research & Writing

Finding resources beyond Yale