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Planning: Hometown History & Analysis

Last Updated: Jun 5, 2023 4:12 PM

Part 1: Maps:

Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection -(Army Map Service Topographic Map Series) International Historic, Country & City Maps (on left side menu, after selecting your appropriate map site, use Ctrl F to search for your City/Town)

UB Libraries Map Collection – Topographic map guide by UB Libraries.
Locating and downloading United States Geological Survey Topographical Maps (type in city, state, then "Find Products" - left side- results, download pdf)

Citing Online Maps:

MLA: example:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Cartographer. Cahaba River Natural Refuge. Map. 1:24,000. 2009. Web. 5 May 2010.
Author. "Map title" [format]. Scale. "Title of the complete document or site". Information date. URL, including the path and any directories necessary to access the document. (The date viewed)

Chicago: example:
U.S. Census Bureau. Merced, California, 1990 Household Size [map]. 1990. 1:91,302; generated by Deb Peoples; using 1998 TIGER/Line. (7 Feb. 2002).
Author or statement of responsibility. Map Title [map].

Data date if known. Scale; Name of person who generated map; Name of software used to generate the map or “Title of the Complete Document or Site”. (date generated).

Part 2: background information on your hometown:


Everything & Catalog
-search by ‘all fields’ – “your town/city” and “State” and history, be sure to note the location of the book (APL, LML)
-in ‘Everything’ tab: to expand search to items not owned by the UB Libraries, check the box on the top right labeled: Add results beyond your library’s collection.

Polk City Directory  is available in Lockwood Library, we only carry Western New York city directories. City Directories were published annually and created for businessmen to contact local residents.Printed directories provide home ownership, home value, and adult age ranges. Check your hometown library to see if they have their City Directory digitized, also check HathiTrust and Internet Archive. 

Buffalo Online City Directories
NYC Public Library City Directories

The HathiTrust digital library is a preservation repository and highly functional access platform. It provides long-term preservation and access services for public domain and in copyright content from a variety of sources, including Google, the Internet Archive, Microsoft, and in-house partner institution initiatives.

Internet Archive
The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library. Its purposes include offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format.

A mega-library catalog containing more than 100 million records contributed by 20,000 libraries, available through Delivery+.

Google Books
Over 15,000,000 books and magazine issues may be searched in Google Books. Check the book against the UB Libraries catalog to see if we own it or Delivery+ can be used.


Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals: provides a comprehensive index to national and international architectural journals, both professional and popular. — for possible information and/or images on historical building in your town/city by the name of building or by name of your town/city and state

Digital Sanborn Maps: New York Sanborn fire insurance maps of New York’s towns and cities (1867-1970). See guide: ‘How to Locate Specific Digital Sanborn Maps' for finding tips.


Gale Virtual Reference Library: Includes subject encyclopedias, almanacs, and specialized reference works in broad subject areas.

Grove Art Online: Provides background information on cities, buildings, periods, styles, and more. It also contains bibliographies and links to pertinent definitions and images.

Historical Societies

Preservation Organizations & Resources
A comprehensive directory of historic and cultural resource organizations provides detailed information for organizations located in each State and Province in the United States and Canada.


American Memory
A primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States.

Google Images
For photographs of historic buildings in your town/city, search by name of building.

Using Google – Evaluating websites

Content: What is the content of the web site: images, articles, a blog? Is the content original or reproduced from another source? If it is reproduced, is there a permission statement indicating this? It is very important to verify that this information is correct and hasn’t been altered.

Purpose: Why was this document produced?

Authority: Who wrote the page and are there credentials? Is the person qualified to write the page?

Ownership: check the domain: .edu, .gov, .com, .org, .net. What institution publishes the document and is their qualifications listed? Objectivity: Does the webpage present a bias? What opinions (if any) are expressed by the author?

Currency: When was it produced? When was it updated? Usefulness: Is the web page relevant to the current research project?

Audience: To what type of reader is the web page directed? Coverage: Does the page cover the topic comprehensively, partially or is it an overview?

Part 2: Identifying building architecture

Part 4: Mini Demographic Analysis: Census

Create an account (free)
Select "Tables" - U.S. Decennial Census- > select from the drop down boxes
Select "US Business Patterns", Zip Code Business Patterns -> select from the drop down boxes

Census Tract Reference Maps
Zip Codes

Citing tables from Social Explorer

Census Resources: Historical Resources: guide by Librarian Susan Dow

Citing your resources:

Citing articles, books, websites: Commonly used styles

Citing images:

(No Author) Title of work [Type of work]. (Year image was created). Retrieved from URL (address of web site)

(No Author, No Title, No Date) -Many images found on the Web fall under this category, to locate the missing information by clicking on the image, and/or looking at the bottom of the image.
[Subject and type of work]. Retrieved from URL (address of web site)
(from: George Washington University LibGuides)