Skip to Main Content


Start here for an overview of the research process in History, with suggested resources.

Constructing a Bibliography

  • Talk to your professor; she can suggest good primary and secondary sources for a particular topic
  • Search OneSearch, the library catalog. Use the records for secondary sources you've already identified to find similar works by checking the subject headings or keywords from chapter titles and summaries.
  • Once you have found a good secondary source, check that source's bibliography to identify more secondary sources.  Use the bibliographies from these secondary sources to identify primary sources.
  • Search Dissertations & Theses to find recent dissertations on your topic.  A recent dissertation will likely have the most up to date bibliography on its topics.
  • Read book reviews for ideas on how other historians have reacted to individual books, and perhaps relate them to other existing works.
  • Browse the library shelves where you have located other useful materials.

How to Find Books at FSU

Read Academic Books Effectively

Even in the Digital Age, books are still an important publication format in the humanities. In fact, journal articles may be the precursor to full-length books. Here are some tips on how to use books more effectively in your research:

  • Read the table of contents, introduction, and conclusion first. Academic works are not novels - you'll get more out of it if you know in advance the author's main points and conclusions.
  • Found a good book on your topic? Look at the titles near it on the shelf for related works.
  • Raid the bibliography of a good book for more sources, both primary and secondary. Ask a librarian if you need help locating a cited source.

Finding Books @ Other Libraries

Ready to expand your search beyond the shelves at FSU Libraries? Use the WorldCat database to search for books, audio, video, and other materials in libraries across the country and around the world.  Then use UBorrow (if in the state of Florida) or Interlibrary Loan (everywhere else) to borrow items from other libraries!

WorldCat is a catalog of catalogs; it allows you to search nationwide and around the world to find materials held by other libraries. You can request print books, microfilm, and physical media like CDs and DVDs that you find in WorldCat using InterLibrary Loan.

Note that ebooks cannot be shared between libraries because of licensing restrictions, but you may be able to request a single chapter from an ebook, just like you can request a single article from an online journal.

Dissertations & Theses

The Florida State University Libraries

© 2022 Florida State University Libraries | 116 Honors Way | Tallahassee, FL 32306 | (850) 644-2706