US History Pathfinder

Use the pathfinder for help with:

Background Reading

Online and Print Tools

Online Resources (Databases)


More Online Tools


Videos (0nline)

Citing and Evaluating Sources

Background Reading

How background reading helps:

  • You can broaden or narrow your topic.
  • You develop your vocabulary of your topic’s terminology.
  • You identify expert scholars on your topic.
  • You establish list of key events, dates, places, legislation, etc.

Online and Print Tools

How online and print tools help:

  • The library’s online tools are a great starting place for your research!
  • Don’t just browse the shelves, use library catalogs and databases.
  • These tools help you refine your search.
  • They will give you good authoritative information.

Library Catalogs:

Reference Sources (great for background reading!):
Putnam Library has specialized single and multi-volume sets of encyclopedias, almanacs, dictionaries, handbooks, atlases, etc. in the print reference collection that provide you with both primary and secondary source material.  Here is a sample:

    • American Decades Primary Sources (Gale) R973.9
    • The American Economy: a Historical Encyclopedia (ABC-Clio) R330.97
    • Encyclopedia of American Social History (Scribner) R973 Enc
    • Encyclopedia of the United States in the Twentieth Century R973.9 Enc
    • Modern America 1914-1945 [Almanacs of American Life] (Facts on File) R973.9 Gre
Here is a sample of resources from our non-fiction collection:
  • The Depression and the New Deal: a History in Documents (Oxford Univ) 973.91
  • MceEncyclopedia of the McCarthy Era (Facts on File) 973.018 Kli
  • The 1940’s: Decades of Triumph and Trouble (MacMillan) 973.91 Dec
  • Our American Century (Time Life Books) 973.92 Roc

**NEW** Search all of our databases at once with Discovery Service!

**NEW** Want to see if we have full-text access to a magazine or scholarly journal? Try A-Z Locator.

Online Resources (Databases)

ABC-Clio Social Databases A great starting place to find quick background info pertaining to American history, government, war, etc. Similar to an encyclopedia.

U.S. History in Context  Covers significant American events, people, and topics.  Includes reference, magazine and scholarly (journal) articles, images/audio, and primary sources.

Issues and Controversies

Issues and Controversies in American History

History Study Center  (For off campus use, please use username: noblegreenoughs and password: I2JA5IRMWD.) Contains primary and secondary sources.

World History in Context Covers world events.

Archive of Americana Searchable monographs, pamphlets, broadsides, government documents and ephemera enable researchers to explore America’s distant and not so distant past.

InfoTrac (Gale) Forty+ databases specializing in a variety of subjects from war to pop culture.

ProQuest SIRS Great for the pro + con of a topic.

JSTOR   Scholarly journal articles.



Gale Virtual Reference Book  Online reference encyclopedias.

ABC-CLIO ebooks  More than 7,000 ebooks (comprising of encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and guides) about American, military, and world history as well as politics, government, race, pop culture, etc.

Annals of American History Access to primary source documents from U.S. History from 1493 to the present.

More Online Tools

World Data Analyst Statistical information and data for every country.

Library of Congress An invaluable site for American history and general studies. Use it to locate primary and secondary documents, exhibits, map collections, prints, photographs, sound recording and motion pictures. Click on the American Memory link to find over 100 thematic collections of material.



Boston Globe Full access to Boston Globe archives from 1872-present. Only five users may be logged on at one time. Students and staff, please click here for access.

Lexis-Nexis Scholastic Edition  (From off-campus, use the following login information –  username: nscho5 and password: noblegreen3) Over 50 major U.S. and international newspapers since 1989. Transcripts of radio and televised national and international broadcasts are available as well as legal cases.

Newsbank American Historical Newspapers Features newspapers published in the United States from 1690-2000.

Newsbank Access World News Features current print and online news from around the world from 1978 – current.

ProQuest Historical Newspapers (Not working? Please contact a librarian.) Historical news from New York Times, Chicago, L.A., and Atlanta.

Wall Street Journal A daily international newspaper with an emphasis on business and economics. Covers current and last five years. Students and staff, please click here for access.

New York Times: New this year! Please follow the directions to create your own personal NYT account:

  1. Visit   Create a free account using your school email address.  If you already have an account associated with your school email address, log in with those credentials.
  2. Check your email inbox for our confirmation message.  Click on the link in your confirmation message to validate your email address and claim your Pass.  If the confirmation email didn’t arrive, check your spam folder. If it isn’t there, send an email to from your school email address to request confirmation.You have successfully claimed a Pass when you see the Start Your Access screen

Videos (Online)


Classroom Video On Demand Contains 5,000 educational videos. Lots of American, World, and European history videos.

Citing and Evaluating Sources

EasyBib: Citation Generator (Register here so that you can save your work and use off-campus.)

eTurabian generator

Preparing your search flowchart

What is a primary source? This slideshow will help you recognize and interpret primary source materials.

What is a scholarly source? Follow the general guidelines to evaluate whether your source is high-quality.


Please see a librarian with any questions.