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History 112: Late Antiquity & the Early Middle Ages: Getting Started

Using Subject Encyclopedias

Textbooks and encyclopedias are examples of tertiary sources--sources that provide overviews of information on a topic.  In the field of history, tertiary sources often provide not just an overview of the topic, but also discuss how a topic has been analyzed, interpreted, and argued about among scholars over time (historiography). 

Whenever you have questions about the people, places, events, documents, and themes in the primary sources you are analyzing, subject encyclopedias should be your go-to source.

Entries in subject encyclopedias typically are not quoted from or cited as evidence in a final paper.   However, the entries can help you identify scholarly secondary sources that may help you situate your primary sources in their historical context, and those sources would be cited in the final paper.

Print Subject Encyclopedias

Several excellent subject encyclopedias on various aspects of medieval history are available in the print reference section on the first floor of Collins Library.  A few highlights:

Online Subject Encyclopedias

Liaison Librarian

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Peggy Burge
Collins Library 119

Work with a Peer Research Advisor!

Fall 2021

Hannah Bahls and Maya Horten are your Peer Research Advisors for 2021-22!
Beginning on September 12, Hannah and Maya will be available in Library 146 as follows:
Sundays:  6:00pm  to 9:00pm
Mondays: 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Tuesdays: 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Wednesdays: 6:00pm to 8:00pm