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History: Books

This is a basic guide on general history research.

Masland Online Catalog Search

Search the Masland Library Online Catalog:

Finding Book Reviews

A review is a critical evaluation of a text, event, object, or phenomenon. Reviews can consider books, articles, entire genres or fields of literature, architecture, art, fashion, restaurants, policies, exhibitions, performances, and many other forms.

Above all, a review makes an argument. The most important element of a review is that it is a commentary, not merely a summary. It allows you to enter into dialogue and discussion with the work's creator and with other audiences. It can offer agreement or disagreement and identify where you find the work exemplary or deficient in its knowledge, judgments, or organization.

"Book Reviews." The Writing Center. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, n.d. Web. 21 Apr 2011. <http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/review.html>.

Call Numbers

Selected Areas for Browsing:

D History: Europe, Asia, and Africa
DA Great Britain
DC France
DD Germany
DE Greco-Roman World
DK Russia
DS Asia
DT Africa
E-F History: American
G Geography (General), Maps
GB Physical Geography

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event. Some types of primary sources include:

  • ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS (excerpts or translations acceptable): Diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, official records 
  • CREATIVE WORKS: Poetry, drama, novels, music, art 
  • RELICS OR ARTIFACTS: Pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings

 

A secondary source interprets and analyzes primary sources. These sources are one or more steps removed from the event. Secondary sources may have pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources in them. Some types of seconday sources include:

  • PUBLICATIONS: Textbooks, magazine articles, histories, criticisms, commentaries, encyclopedias 

Examples of secondary sources include:

  • A journal/magazine article which interprets or reviews previous findings 
  • A history textbook 
  • A book about the effects of WWI

 

Princeton University Library. "What Is a Primary Source." Getting Started with Your Research. Princeton University. Web. 11 Jan. 2011. <http://www.princeton.edu/~refdesk/primary2.html>.