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History 200 (Professor Neighbors): Databases & Indexes

Please consult the Collins Library Guide to Remote and Local Resources and Services for Fall semester updates, including information on how to request scans of chapters or sections of books in the print collection.

Types of Databases

Online databases are invaluable resources for the historian.  They make discovering and locating relevant scholarly material much more efficient.  At the same time, it is important to understand that there are different kinds of databases, and scholars need to be able to distinguish between these different types and to select the appropriate databases for their research needs.  Here are some brief overviews of different types of databases.

Subject databases cover a specific discipline or sub-discipline or a specific interdisciplinary area.  For example, America: History and Life indexes scholarly materials covering all aspects of United States and Canadian history, from prehistoric times to the the present.  Most subject databases are citation indexes; this means that they provide citations to the scholarly material, and you then need to go to Primo to find out how to obtain the item. Subject databases will help you access the broadest range of materials and typically should be your first choice.

Full-text databases, sometimes called "e-journal collections," provide access to the actual texts of the scholarly materials themselves.  JSTOR and Project Muse are examples of e-journal collections.  While convenient, these databases provide access to a more limited selection of scholarship.  In most cases, searching subject databases instead will be a better option for you. The one exception is when your research topic has a strong multidisciplinary flavor; in this case, searching JSTOR or Project Muse may help you identify articles that the subject databases may miss.

Creating an Account

Interested in learning to use a bibliographic manager?  Consider using RefWorks, an easy to learn bibliographic management tool that integrates seamlessly with most of the library's databases, including Primo.

Current University of Puget Sound students, faculty and staff may set up a RefWorks account.  You will have access to your account for so long as Collins Library maintains its subscription, including after graduation.  Your RefWorks account includes 10GB of document storage, unlimited sharing inside and outside the institution, easy institution-wide sharing, phone and email tech support, training and more.

To create a RefWorks account:

  1. Go to and click the “sign up” link.
  2. Fill in your information, making sure to use your University of Puget Sound email address (you can’t sign up with,, etc.).  Using your institutional email address will help RefWorks know that you are entitled to an institutional account (with all the benefits mentioned above!).

Once you activate your account (you'll receive an email with a link to complete the registration process), you’ll get access immediately and can get started managing your research!


Databases for History 200

There are several databases from which to choose when you are seeking scholarly work.  Most databases for historians focus on a particular geographical and/or chronological period.  Always make sure that you've selected the most appropriate database to search!

E-Journal Collections

These e-journal collections provide access to many journals in the field of History, but they are more limited in coverage compared to subject databases.  In most cases, it's better to search subject databases to identify articles.