World History: Starting Points
Welcome to the UB Research Guide for World History. On the current tab, Starting Points, you can find some excellent points of departure for historical research in our library's collections as well as resources from across the Internet. To explore reference works (dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, etc.) on specific topics, eras, or problems in history, click on the Topical Overviews tab. Under the tab Primary Sources, you can uncover original historical source material in multiple media, including texts, images, audio, video, maps, and statistics. The links listed under Tools for Researchers connect you to vital additional software and tools for more effective research in history, including citation indices, book reviews, repositories, dissertations and theses, citation management software, and guides to academic research and writing.
Top Databases in History
In these resources you can find abstracts, citations, or the full text of articles published in scholarly and popular journals on topics in world history.
- Historical Abstracts This link opens in a new windowResearch database for world history exclusive of U.S. and Canada, from the 15th century to the present, extending to related disciplines including archaeology, anthropology, and sociology.
- JSTOR This link opens in a new windowFull-text of the most important journals in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, as well as thousands of books and copious primary source material.
- Project Muse This link opens in a new windowMajor full-text archive of journals in the humanities and social sciences.
- Academic OneFile This link opens in a new windowFull-text access to thousands of leading journals in biology, chemistry, criminal justice, economics, environmental science, history, marketing, political science, and psychology, as well as access to thousands of podcasts and videos. Topic-level access to world history content on the History page.
- Academic Search Complete This link opens in a new windowComprehensive, full-text database covering more than 6,000 journals in all disciplines.
- Fulltext Sources Online (FSO) This link opens in a new windowA directory of publications in multiple subject areas that are accessible online in full text.
- General OneFile This link opens in a new windowA collection of general interest periodicals not typically found in academic databases.
- Humanities Source This link opens in a new windowProvides full text of hundreds of journals, books and other published sources from around the world.
- MasterFILE Premier This link opens in a new windowGeneral database with coverage in all subject areas.
- Periodicals Archive Online This link opens in a new windowArchive of hundreds of journals in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, offering full-text access to more and more of the journals indexed in its sister database, Periodicals Index Online.
- Periodicals Index Online This link opens in a new windowIndex of major journals in the humanities and social sciences, from as far back as 1660 up to the present.
- PERSÉE This link opens in a new windowOnline access to the complete back runs of numerous journals in the social and human sciences from France. (In French)
Albrecht Dürer, Kopf eines Afrikaners (Head of an African Man). Exact date unknown; 15th/16th c. Europe. Public domain (Source: Wikiart.org 2).
Open Access & Public Domain Resources
Open access (OA) is a contemporary movement in online research, designating websites, databases, and other resources that voluntarily place no restriction (paywalls, etc.) on access to their information and frequently also put up few or no barriers to the further use of that information (Source: Wikipedia, "Open access"). The public domain is a legal designation for the condition of intellectual property (books, music, etc.) for which the exclusive rights of distribution and reproduction have expired, been waived or forfeited by their owner, or are otherwise inapplicable (Source: Wikipedia, "Public domain"). The links listed in this section represent a mixture of open access and public domain resources, sometimes within the same site or service. We encourage you to bear in mind that certain legal restrictions on the use or reproduction of material in these resources may still apply, regardless of their designation as 'open access' or 'public domain' on this guide.
- Digital Public Library of America This link opens in a new windowRich primary-source material from libraries, archives, and museums in the U.S., much of it either open access, in the public domain, or both.
- Google Books This link opens in a new windowThe world's most comprehensive index of full-text books.
- Google Scholar This link opens in a new windowBroadly search for scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.
- HathiTrust Digital Library This link opens in a new windowA repository of millions of books and articles contributed by major research institutions and libraries in order to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future.
- New York Heritage Digital Collections This link opens in a new windowDigital collections which are freely accessible from libraries, museums, and archives throughout New York State.
- OpenDOAR This link opens in a new windowDirectory of open access academic repositories containing primary and secondary material.
- Digital Collections @ The Library of CongressDigital collections at the U.S. Library of Congress.
- Digital Collections @ The New York Public LibraryMore than 722,000 items digitized from the NYPL's archives, with new materials added every day, including prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video, and more.
- Directory of Open Access BooksA directory of more than 1,000 open access scholarly books in the humanities.
- EuropeanaExplore more than 53 million artworks, artefacts, books, videos and sounds from across Europe.
- Google Arts & CultureA carefully curated, beautifully presented collection of digital texts, images, audio, and video from Google's vast libraries, connected with the art, culture, and history of countries across the globe and in every era.
- The Internet ArchiveA non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.
- MERLOT: Humanities MaterialsThousands of open access resources - collections, exhibitions, softwares, etc. - related to the humanities.
- Wikimedia CommonsA collection of more than 41 million media files - images, sounds, and videos - to which anyone may contribute.
- World Digital LibraryMore than 16,000 multimedia items - text, image, video, audio - connected to the history of 193 different countries, from 8000 BCE to 2000 CE.
Kitagawa Utamaro, Three Beauties of the Present Day. Japanese Ukiyo-e style woodcut. 1792/3. Public domain (Source: Wikiart.org 1).
Focused Topical Overviews
These resources offer compact, authoritative discussions of focused topics, individuals, or research areas in history, as well as bibliographies to begin your research.
- Cambridge Histories Online This link opens in a new windowProvides online access to over 250 volumes in the Cambridge History series, each one offering a comprehensive selection of authoritative essays on individual topics in history.
- Gale eBooks (formerly Gale Virtual Reference Library) This link opens in a new windowDozens of specialized encyclopedias and reference works across the disciplines, with contents available online in full-text.
- Opposing Viewpoints in Context This link opens in a new windowComplete one-stop source for information on social issues.
- Oxford Bibliographies This link opens in a new windowOxford Bibliographies offers authoritative research guidance through highly specific annotated bibliographic guides. The bibliographies identify the best work available on a topic, whether it is in the form of a chapter, a book, an article, a website, an archive, or a dataset.
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography This link opens in a new windowProvides full, accurate and concise articles on noteworthy people.
- Points of View Reference Center This link opens in a new windowEssays that present multiple perspectives on controversial current issues.