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:
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.
This is an extensive collection of annotated bibliographies that are keyword searchable and can also be browsed by subject area -- there are several articles (sometimes on the same topic across multiple disciplines) that may provide helpful starting points for your research, often listing both primary and secondary sources. The Atlantic History module may be especially useful. A few examples of the articles you will find are:
"Islam and the Atlantic World" (Atlantic History module)
"Africa and the Atlantic World" (Atlantic History module)
"Empires and Colonialism" (Sociology module)
"Settler Colonialism" (Anthropology module)
The Oxford Research Encyclopedias, including:
The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History (including coverage of the Middle East)
The Oxford Research Encyclopedias are scholarly encyclopedias with informative articles, usually providing a discussion of the literature including primary sources.
Comprehensive collection of scholarship focused on the lives and events which have shaped African American and African history and culture.
Includes book series such as the Cambridge Histories and Cambridge Companions. Includes, for instance, The Cambridge World History of Slavery: Vol. 4, AD 1804-AD 2016.
Lengthy chapters in the Oxford Handbooks usually provide helpful overviews of scholarly topics and historical literature, along with suggestions for further reading.
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.
In addition to the online library catalog (Books+ and Orbis), reference sources, and footnotes in the sources you're already finding, subject-specific databases of journal articles, book reviews, and the like are another extremely helpful resource for finding secondary literature. Here are a couple of key ones for your research this semester: