History 103 – Fishman

    Poster that reads: "Union with freemen -- No union with slaveholders. Anti-slavery meetings! Anti-slavery meetings will be held in this place, to commence on at in the To be addressed by Agents of the Western anti-slavery society. Three millions of your fellow beings are in chains-- the Church and government sustains the horrible system of oppression. Turn out! And learn your duty to yourselves, the slave and God ... Salem, Ohio. Homestead Print [185-]"

    Anti-slavery poster from the 1950s,

    About This Guide

    This guide provides students with suggested print and online resources for research on the history of Western civilization, for History 103 with Professor Fishman. Use the tabs above to navigate through the pages of the guide.

    Your Assignment

    Write a 6-7 page research paper on one of the 10 topics listed in the assignment instructions, using at least 3 primary sources (one of which can come from the textbook), and at least 2 secondary sources in addition to the textbook (one of which must be an article from a peer-reviewed journal).

    Paper Writing Assistance

    Consult these campus resources for help with writing and editing:
    About SBCC’s Writing Center
    The SBCC Learning Resource Center writing tools online

    Need more help?

    Have a question? Stop by the Reference Desk, or contact a librarian by phone, text, or chat for more help.Contact Us

    Your Textbook

    The textbook for this course is a good source of background information, as well as some primary sources. The textbook may also help you identify keywords related to your topic.


    Keywords are the terms you use in an online search. The words you use to describe your topic may differ from the words others use. Identify synonyms and related terms for your keywords, and experiment with different combinations of search terms. For example, if you are searching for information about women, try also using terms such as females and gender.

    Tip: When searching for background information, keep your keywords general. Use what you learn in reference sources to identify more specific keywords to use when searching for articles.

    Reference Sources

    References sources, such as encyclopedias and dictionaries, are a good place to start to get background information on your topic, including names, dates, and general information.

    Online Reference Sources

    To access this resource from off campus, you will need to log in using your Pipeline username and password.

    • Credo Reference A database that allows you to search over 700 reference books at once.

    Print Reference Sources

    The Reference collection behind the Reference and Information desk in the library includes books covering various periods, places, and events in history. Try using the book below, or ask a librarian for additional help finding reference books on your specific topic.

    • World History Encyclopedia – R 903 A556w 2011


    Search the library catalog for books on your topic. The library’s collection includes both print books and online ebooks. Use the keywords you identified during your background research to search for books on your topic.


    Use library databases to find articles from periodicals (journals, magazines, and newspapers) on your topic. To access databases from off campus, you will need to log in using your Pipeline username and password.

    • Academic Search Premier: a great starting point for research on any topic.
    • JSTOR: provides access to the full text of articles from hundreds of scholarly journals covering a wide range of subjects in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences.
    • Project MUSE: provides complete, full-text versions of scholarly journals in subject areas such as: ethnic studies; art and architecture; literature; education; history; language; philosophy; religion; and more.
    • History Reference Center: this resource covers all time periods of U.S. and World History.

    About Primary Sources

    Primary sources are first-person accounts or direct evidence of the topics or events you are researching. They may include letters, diaries, photographs, autobiographies, records such as birth certificates or land deeds, treaties and other government documents, eyewitness news articles, plays, movies, works of art, speeches, interviews, oral histories, memoirs, architectural plans, and many other kinds of artifacts.

    Secondary sources analyze, summarize, interpret, or comment on primary sources. They are usually created by someone who did not experience an event first-hand. They may include biographies, scholarly journal articles, literary criticism, political analysis, news reports other than first-hand accounts, reference books, and textbooks.

    What About Newspapers? Some sources may be considered primary or secondary, depending on how you use them. For example, a book or article from the 1600s that discusses the slave trade could be considered a secondary source, if the author was not directly involved in the slave trade. But if you are interested in how scholars or journalist portrayed the slave trade at the time, the same article could be considered a primary source as an historical artifact. Watch Newspapers – Primary Source? for more information.

    Finding Primary Sources In Reference Books

    The following reference book includes copies of primary sources:

    • Daily Life through World History in Primary Documents — available online, or in the library at R 909 M876d 2009

    Finding Primary Sources Through the Library Catalog

    Use the library catalog to find primary sources on a topic. Choose from the keywords listed below and add them to your search to explore what primary source material we have on your topic:

    • personal narratives
      Sample search: “slavery” and personal narratives
    • sources
      Sample search: Rome and sources
    • correspondence
      Sample search: “ancient Greece” and correspondence
    • diaries
    • charters
    • early works
    • interviews
    • manuscripts
    • oratory
    • pamphlets
    • speeches
    • letters
    • documents

    Finding Primary Sources Through the Library Databases

    Some of the library databases include primary source materials. When you access these resources from off campus, you will be prompted to log in with your Pipeline username and password.

    • History Reference Center: Primary source material in this database includes treaties, photos, maps and videos. Use the advanced search and select “primary source document” in the “publication type” menu. Or, select the “primary sources” tab found in the menu to the left of the list of results after your search.

    Finding Primary Sources on the Internet

    You can also find primary source materials through several free websites:

    • American Memory — Library of Congress: Includes “written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience.” Check out the other Library of Congress digital collections as well.
    • The Internet Classics Archive — MIT: Almost 400 English translations of classical Greek and Roman texts.
    • Internet Ancient History Sourcebook provides online primary source texts of time period and includes links to visual and aural material, since art and archeology are far more important for the periods in question than for later history.
    • World Digital Library — Supported by UNESCO: This resource makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.

    Evaluating Sources

    Use the P.R.O.V.E.N. Test for Evaluating Sources to determine whether the sources you find are relevant and credible:

    • Purpose: The reason the information exists. Is the purpose to sell, to entertain, to inform, to teach, or to persuade? Do the authors and publishers/sponsors make their purposes clear? Is this source designed for general readers or academic readers?
    • Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs. Does it relate to your topic? Does it meet the requirements of your assignment? Is it too basic or too advanced?
    • Objectivity: The reasonableness of the information. Is it fact or opinion? Is it biased? Do the authors use strong or emotional language, or leave out important facts or alternative perspectives?
    • Verifiability: The truthfulness and accuracy of the information. Where does the information come from? Can you verify it in other sources? Are there citations or links to other sources? What do experts say about the topic?
    • Expertise: The source of the information. Who are the authors, publishers, or sponsors of the information? Are they experts, or has the information been reviewed by experts? Is it posted on a personal website or blog?
    • Newness: The timeliness of the information. When was the information published or posted? Is it up to date? Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as technology or current events), or will older sources work as well?

    MLA Citation Guidelines

    MLA citation style is often used when writing papers in the liberal arts or humanities. The following resources will help you construct MLA citations: