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HIST 490: History Senior Seminar: Finding Books

Reference Books

Why use Reference material?


  • Reference material is a great place to find background information
  • Shows how a topic fits into a broader subject or discipline
  • Helps you to know if there is enough or too much information on a topic
  • Provides access to the specific vocabulary which serves as keywords for searching
  • Often contains bibliographies which point to key resources and experts to consult

Suggested Reference books:

Cold War America, 1946 to 1990

The Cold War presidency: a documentary history

Encyclopedia of the Korean War: a political, social, and military history

Great debates at the United Nations: an encyclopedia of fifty key issues 1945-2000

The Koreas

Dictionary of the modern politics of Japan 

World War II and the postwar years in America : a historical and cultural encyclopedia

Online Collection

Cambridge Histories Online   Full-text of all Cambridge history volumes (250+). Subject matter ranges across the humanities.

Books: a step-by-step guide

Books: A Step-by-Step Guide

1.) Library OneSearch

  • Search by Keyword 
  • Find and Use Subject Headings
  • Browse the shelves by Call Number
  • Use these search terms in OneSearch to help identify primary sources:  Case studies, Autobiography, Correspondence, Diaries, Speeches

2.) e-Books and Online Texts

  • search by keyword, full-text, author, and more

3.) MeLCat

  • Search by Keyword
  • Find and Use Subject Headings
  • About MeLCat

4.) Western Michigan's Library (duplicated in MeLCat, but if you want your materials faster, just walk to WMU!)

5.) Interlibrary Loan

  • Order item through ILLiad - Interlibrary Loan

Using Subject Headings

Search by Keyword and look for Subject Headings in individual records.
To modify a search:

  • Use words from the Subject Heading in a Keyword search
  • Click on the Subject Heading itself

Examples of Subject Headings:



Subject Guide

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