Skip to Main Content

Background Sources

Background sources are useful tools for learning quick facts, important dates and overviews of key events and individuals in history.

Try the encyclopedias linked to the Background Sources tab of this guide. To find more substantial entries, check the word counts shown in the result lists. Use the title of the encyclopedia article/entry to determine relevance.

OR try browsing one of the following reference books about modern European history:

Use a History-Specific Journal Database

Using history-specific research tools can often return more relevant results, more quickly.

Historical Abstracts is the best history-specific article database for this course. Use the limiters on the right to improve your search, in particular the "academic journals" option.

Search for Books, Book Chapters, and Journal Articles in LibrarySearch

Use the MRU LibrarySearch tool - the search box on the library homepage - to find information in all formats (books, journal articles, videos, magazines) simultaneously.

Try limiting searches by:

  • using the sidebar options (e.g. limit results to only relevant subjects, or to preferred resource type, e.g., books)
  • using the advanced search to search for important terms in the subject or title fields on the drop-down menus.
  • refining results to only peer-reviewed sources (searches only within scholarly journals)

Search Tips

Finding too much?

- Put “Quotation Marks Around Your Search" to search for exact phrases

Finding too little?

- Use OR between your ideas to search for EITHER term

- Put * after the root of a word to look for multiple endings
e.g., Europ* will finde Europ-e and Europ-ean.

- For better searching, think of multiple ways to describe your topic

Profile Photo
Alice Swabey
Appointments available via Google Meet. In-person appointments temporarily on-hold but back soon.