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Modern Britain 1688-Present

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

Where to start

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:

These serve different purposes.

Guide to Historical Literature

This two volume resource 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 topic are in:

  • volume 1, Section 23, The British Isles, 1450-1800;
  • and Section 24, Britain and Ireland Since 1760.

Each section begins with four page introductions by distinguished specialists in the field. Section 23 has fifteen topics and 443 books. Section 24 has eighteen topics and 471 titles listed. Each entry has a short abstract signed by a specialist.

Using relevant titles gleaned from the section you should then check them against the Library Catalog 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 catalog 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.  Many of these kinds of resources are identified for you throughout this Guide.

Historical Abstracts and Bibliography of British and Irish History

These resources are key sources for the scholarly periodical literature on British history. Because these are online you can also search using keywords, or use the specific database's own subject headings to explore and find more works.

Additional information

Aside from these two items, what other bibliographies and databases you chose to use will largely be driven by your specific research topic. This research guide tries to help guide your selections in the vast number of available sources.