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History - 2016 Guide: Reference

Reference sources - what are they?

Materials which are referred to for brief or general information. Examples include:

  • Background or overview synopses (encyclopedia)
  • Definitions (dictionary)
  • Synonyms (thesaurus)
  • Statistics
  • Biographical Details
  • Maps (atlas)

Reference sources - how to search them

Reference resources are organized in an order that aids searching (alphabetically, chronologically, etc).  Most include an index which points users to the appropriate section.  Tips for searching:

  1. Decide on your search terms
  2. Try searching with them
  3. If not satisfied with the results, try searching a synonym or related idea

Things to watch out for:

  • Is the computer searching only the title/header of the entries or the full-text of the information?  You will get more results, but more of them will be irrelabent if you are searching the full-text.
  • Are you searching for a proper noun (name, place,...)?  Make sure that the spelling is correct and try variations if it originated in a foreign language.
  • Searching for something by date?  This is trickier than it sounds.  If possible, search for an event name or topic rather than a date, e.g. civil rights movement or hippies or flower children rather than 1960s.


Encyclopedias & Handbooks

On this page you will find links to a number of general reference resources. For reference resources about sub-fields of history, use the "Topics" tab above.

Search relevant groups of eBooks:

Reference eBooks for US History

Reference eBooks for World History

Search using Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World:

Search Oxford Reference Online

Statistics - In Print

United States:

In print in Crumb Library reference collection:

Historical Statistics of the United States : earliest times to the present 5 vols.
Call number: Ref HA 202 .H57 2006

Social change in America : the historical handbook
Call Number: Ref HA 214.S746 2006

U.S. Census Reports
Call Number: HA 201

Encyclopedia of the U.S. Census
Call Number: Ref HA 37.U55 E53 2000

New York State Censuses
Call Number: Spec. Coll. HA 542

New York State population, 1790-1980: a compilation of federal census data
Call Number: Ref HA 545.S58 1987


In print in Crumb Library reference collection:

Statistical Yearbook (UNESCO)
Call Number: Ref AZ 361.U45[year]

Compendium of Social Statistics and Indicators (U.N.)
Call Number: Ref HA 12.5.A1U5 1988

Demographic Yearbook (U.N.)
Call Number: Ref HA 17.D45[year]

Social Indicators of Development (Worldbank)
Call Number: Ref HA 155.S63 1994

International historical statistics : Africa, Asia & Oceania, 1750-2000
Call Number: Ref HA 4675 .M552 2003

International Historical Statistics: Europe, 1750-2000
Call Number: Ref HA 1107.M5 2003

International historical statistics : the Americas, 1750-2000
Call Number: Ref HA 175.M55 2003

State, Economy, and Society in Western Europe, 1815 -1975: a data handbook
Call Number: Ref HA 1107.F56 1983

The world economy : historical statistics
Call Number: Ref HF 1359 .M333 2003

General bibliographies for history

  • Writings on American history, 1962-1973: a subject bibliography of books and monographs. (Ref. E171.A1 L331) Works on New York history listed on pages 4545-4626.
  • Handbook for Research in American history. (Ref. E178.A1 P78 1994)
  • Harvard Guide to American history. (Ref. E156.A1 F77 1974) 2 Volumes, 1974
  • Bibliographies in American History:1942-1978: a guide to materials for research (Ref. E156.A1 B39 1982)
  • The AHA's Guide to Historical Literature. (Ref. D20.A1 A55 1995) - a massive work
  • A Bibliography of American County histories (Ref E 180.A1 F54 1985)
  • United States local histories in the Library of Congress. 5 Volumes, 1975 (Ref E 180.A1 U59 1975)
  • The Bibliographer's manual of American history, containing an account of all state, territory, town and county histories relating to the United States of North America. 5 Volumes 1907-1910 (Ref E 180.A1 B852 1968)

Internet Portals


Crumb Library: 315-267-2485
Crane Library: 315-267-2451

Text Us! (Mon-Fri, 10 - 4): 315-277-3730

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