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Modern Britain 1688-Present: Home

To start

     This guide is intended to help people doing research in the history of Great Britain since 1688.  

     Once you have selected a topic and discussed it with your instructor you will want to start your research.  To start looking for materials in British History you should start with two items: the American Historical Association's published bibliography, Guide to Historical Literature, and the preeminent database for articles on British history, Historical Abstracts.   These two items serve different purposes.

     The two volume Guide to Historical Literature is a listing of the most important books -- usually in the English language --- by topic, and thus is invaluable to learning what is the past scholarship in the field, including what are some of the debates and who are the leading scholars on a specific topic. The pages relevant to this course are in volume 1, Section 24, Britian and Ireland Since 1760. This section opens four page introduction by R.K. Webb, a distinguished specialist on the field.  the section is divided into eighteen topics and thirty-nine sub-topics with 471 titles listed, each with a signed short abstract by a specialist.  Using relevant titles gleaned from the section you should then check them against Bobcat to find out not only if the library owns the book, but also what the Library of Congress considers the subject(s) to be.  Using these library subject headings in the catalogue will give you a number of other published works, but also -- and importantly -- similar books published since the Guide to Historical Literature.  You should also mine the bibliographies of the books you find in Bobst to identify more works, but also to identify relevant primary sources such as newspapers, archival and manuscript collections and published works such as diaries, memoirs, etc.

     Historical Abstracts is the source for periodical literature in British history from 1450 to the present.  It includes scholarship in over fifty languages -- from Afrikans to Yiddish.   Because it is online you can also search it using keywords, or use the database's own subject headings to explore and find more works.  Historical Abstracts has a growing body of full-text but also contains references to material that is available to you in other formats, including H-Net reviews.  You can identify reviews of the books you have picked to find out where other scholars have agreed or disagreed with their findings..

    Aside from these two items, what other bibliographies and databases you chose to use will largely be driven by your specific research.  This research guide tries to help guide your selections amongst in the vast number of available sources.  You can also contact me for assistance.  Buen provecho.

Subject Librarian

Andrew H. Lee's picture
Andrew H. Lee
Office directions: on the Bobst Mezzanine. West 3rd Street side, I am in room 1M-04E, just past midway (6th door going west), and my name is on the door.

(212) 998-2633