HIST 5023: Historical Methods

This guide assists with identifying and researching topics for historical study including how to find and use primary and secondary resources.

Search OneSearch for Books, Journals, Videos, and more

Search by:

Search WorldCat for Books and More


Searching Concepts

Most of us just start typing when we encounter a search box. However, understanding the differences between

keywords - words anywhere in a record or text and

subject headings or descriptors - phrases assigned to a catalog record by a human being who has assessed the content

can help you to focus or to expand your search. Using subject headings will pull together related records with terminology you may have not considered in your keyword search.

Below are some examples of keyword searches and related subject headings.

Subject Headings
ottoman literature turkish litetature--history and criticism
turkey--intellectual life
turkey--history--ottoman empire 1288 1918
colonial arkansas
indians of north america--arkansas
arkansas--history--19th century
jesuits--missions--new france
north america--discovery and exploration--french
mississippi river valley--history--to1803
new france
trail of tears
trail of tears, 1838-1839
cherokee indians--history
indian removal
forced migration
cherokee indians--government relations
cherokee indians--politics and government
cherokee indians--land tenure
french-canadians--maritime provinces
louisiana--ethic relations
female patients at hot springs, arkansas
hot springs, ark--history
hot springs, ark--social life and customs
health resorts
gynecology--united states--history
medicine--united states--history
women--mental health--history
belleau wood
belleau wood, battle of, france, 1918
united states--marine corps--history--world war 1914 1918
world war 1914 1918--campaigns france
world war 1914 1918--regimental histories--united states
nasser / bhutto
egypt--politics and government--1950-1972
paklstan--politics and government--1971-1988
pakistan--foreign relations
united states--foreign economic relations--egypt
egypt--relations--arab countries
arab nationalism
russian orthodox church in the u.s.
orthodox eastern church--united states
united states--religious life and customs
orthodox church in america--history
interdenominational cooperation
russian americans
serbian americans
ukranian americans
water in the west
water rights--west u.s.
water rights--utah
water rights--paiute indians
water resource development--west u.s.
irrigation--government policy
economic development--environmental aspects
west u s--environmental conditions
french cold war relations
france--foreign relations--20th century
france--foreign relations--1945-
europe, eastern--foreign relations--france
communism--france--history--20th century
car culture
automobiles--social aspects
automobile industry and trade--[place]--history
automobile travel
[specific makes of cars, e.g. "mercedes benz"]

Standard Subdivisions

The Library of Congress Subject Headings use standard subdivisions under place names (countries, states, counties, cities, and other geographic divisions) to classify works. These are some of our favorites for history, most can be further subdivided by time period:

Subject TermsUsed For

Any work of history.

Can be divided by time period; each place has its own unique set of time period divisions. Example:

arkansas--history--19th century
arkansas -- history -- civil war, 1861-1865
arkansas--history--20th century
arkansas--history--to 1950

Catalogers will assign the most specific time period that applies to the entire work.


cultural studies and characteristics

--economic conditions

trade and business, income and distribution of wealth

--foreign relations

diplomatic relations between countries or regions

--intellectual life

literature, philosophy, political thought, public discourse

--personal narratives*

first-hand accounts of historical events

--politics and government

elections, campaigns, parties, legislative process

--social conditions

poverty or affluence, housing, labor, educational attainment, social classes

--social life and customs

folkways, popular culture


collections of original source documents