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Brooks Library Research Guides: History, the World
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Brooks Library Research Guides: History, the World

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The following databases, reference books, websites, and online catalogs are meant to assist as you begin researching a historical topic. This subject guide deals with the history of the world, with the exception of the Americas.

If you need help with any of these resources, please consult a librarian. We're here to help!

Getting started

Brooks Library Online Catalog - CATTRAX:
To find books, government documents, maps, microforms, journals, and other items, please use Cattrax, the online catalog that describes nearly all the materials held by Brooks Library. You can search by keyword, subject, author, journal title, and more.

All books are shelved on the 3rd and 4th floors of the main campus library according to Library of Congress subject classification. Books labeled with call numbers between A and J can be found on the 3rd floor, while books classified as K to Z can be found on the fourth floor. All government documents, maps, and microforms can be found on the 3rd floor, and all musical recordings on the 4th floor. Physical journals, magazines, and serials are housed on the 2nd floor, while DVDs, video tapes and films may be found on the 1st floor. Children's books are located on the 4th floor.

Summit Online Catalog
If you cannot find a resource at CWU, you may be able to request it via Summit, a consortium of universities, colleges, and community colleges in the Pacific Northwest. Through Summit you have access to over 9.2 million distinct books, CDs, DVDs, and more. In general, requested items will arrive after three to five days, so it is important to plan ahead when utilizing Summit.

The Summit catalog allows you to find not only books, CDs, and DVDs but also journal articles. In order to find an article through Summit, type a keyword, a subject, or an article title in the search box. Select the "Full text articles" box. You can also click “Find It @ Your Library” to learn if CWU has access to the article in question. If you cannot find a resource on Summit, you may want to search our databases or request the resource via Interlibrary Loan.

Academic Search Complete
A scholarly, multi-disciplinary database containing more than 5,300 full-text periodicals, including 4,400 peer-reviewed, scholarly journals, and with indexing and abstracting for more than 9,300 journals. If the article whose title and abstract you found is not available in the Academic Search Complete database try clicking on "Search for Full Text."


The Online Computer Library Center, Inc. (OCLC) provides this index of more than 27,000,000 of the articles published since 1990.  The articles are from over 16,000 journals, covering nearly all fields of knowledge.

Book Index with Reviews
Book Index with Reviews™ (BIR) is a comprehensive database that provides information on over 5 million book titles. BIR also contains almost 800,000 full-text searchable book reviews from some of the most trusted sources: Library Journal, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, and the New York Times Book Review

Dissertations & Theses [ProQuest]
This database provides access to citations and abstracts for thousands of doctoral dissertations and master's theses from 1861 to the present.

Ebsco eBook Collection
The Brooks Library has permanent access to 3037 digital books from the EBSCO eBook Collection. EBSCO eBooks are digital full-text versions of books in a variety of areas including history.

Gale Virtual Reference Library
The G.V.R. Library includes, among other things, encyclopedias on environment and society, American immigration, the American West, ethnicity and race, and social psychology. Search results in the Gale Virtual Reference Library will include all encyclopedias unless you click on a specific title and use the Quick Search box within the specific title page.

Our subscription to JSTOR contains every issue of over 600 core scholarly journals in the arts, humanities, the social sciences, as well as the natural and applied sciences. JSTOR also contains citations (bibliographic records) for more than 1,500 leading academic journals, as well as select monographs and other materials valuable for academic work.

OAIster Catalog of Digital Resources
OAIster is a catalog more than 25 million records of open access digital resource. The digital resources in OAIster include items such as digitized books and articles, born-digital texts, audio files, images, and movies.

Oxford Reference Online
With over two million entries, Oxford Reference Online is a superb cross-searchable resource to use when you are at the "looking for a clue" or "needing verification" stages of your research. Oxford Reference provides quality, up-to-date information from a series of well-respected books--and unlike Wikipedia you can cite Oxford Reference in a paper. Use Quick Reference materials to discover a variety of subjects, timelines, quotations, English dictionaries, and bilingual dictionaries.

Project Muse
Project MUSE contains scholarly journals from many of the world's leading university presses and scholarly societies. Currently MUSE includes: 274,848 articles and 479,457 chapters by 199 publishers, and probably has some useful information about your topic. Brooks Library has a partial subscription to Project MUSE, thus some items are available to you in Project MUSE and some items are only available elsewhere.

World history: General resources

Atlas of World History:
Print Location: Brooks Library, 3rd floor, G1030.A85 1999 
This atlas traces 12,000 years of history with 450 full-color maps and essays on worldwide trends, political developments and military conflicts. The atlas highlights socio-economic, cultural and religious themes for Africa, Asia and the Americas. 

Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History, and Diplomacy
Yale Law School hosts this collection of primary materials dating from 4000 B.C.E. to the 21st century. Included are the full text of laws, colony charters, acts, and declarations, presidential proclamations, treaties and formal negotiations affecting the United States judiciary system and governmental foreign policy in general. 

Best of History Web Sites

This site has links to over 1,200 history-related websites that have been reviewed for quality, accuracy, and usefulness. Also included are links to K-12 history lesson plans, teacher guides, activities, games, quizzes, and more.

eHRAF World Cultures

This database contains information on cultures and ethnic groups of the world. Full-text sources in this database are subject-indexed at the paragraph level.

Encyclopedia of World Environmental History
Print Location: Brooks Library, 3rd floor, GF10.E63 2004
This encyclopedia considers the history of environmentalism around the globe, from ancient history to the present.

Great Lives from History: Twentieth Century

Print Location: Brooks Library, 1st floor, Ref CT120.G69 1990
These books provide biographies of individuals who have shaped events around the world from 1900 to the 1990s.

Historical Abstracts

This citation and abstract database covers the history of the world from 1450 to the present (excluding North America).

Magill's Guide to Military History
Print Location: Brooks Library, 1st floor, Ref D25.A2 M34 2001
Five volumes of alphabetically arranged entries on wars, battles, and the people connected to military history.

Mapping History

A project at the University of Oregon, this website contains modern maps illustrating historical topics in American, European, Latin and African history. Requires Shockwave Player 11.0--a free installation from Adobe.

Newsstand [ProQuest]

Coverage of over 1200 newspapers, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, plus other important U.S., international and minority interest papers. 

PAIS International: Public Affairs Information Service

The PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service) International database covers a wide range of current and past public policy issues in countries throughout the world. emphasizing factual and statistical information. Business topics are covered, with emphasis on economic factors, industry surveys, business-societal interactions and similar issues, rather than details of business operations. PAIS is an index and does not contain the full text of articles.

Repositories of Primary Sources

A listing of over 5,000 websites describing holdings of manuscripts, archives, rare books, historical photographs, and other primary sources for the scholar.

World History for Us All

This website provides "a comprehensive model curriculum for teaching world history in middle and high schools." It features an overview of the integrative approach to world history, lesson plans arranged by "Big Eras," a glossary, and links to related websites. A project of San Diego State University in cooperation with the National Center for History in the Schools at the University of California, Los Angeles.

WorldNews Network

Currently, World News has indexed over 130 million pages covering news about film, sports, entertainment, science, business, health, and every region on Earth. World News Network presents news from more than 1,000 reputable sources including mainstream providers (BBC, CNN, Reuters, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, etc.) and more regional sources (the Independent, the Guardian, the New York Times, the Times of India).
African history

Africana: the Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience:
Print Location: Brooks Library, 1st floor, Ref DT14.A37435 2005
This five-volume encyclopedia
covers African American history and culture in the present-day United States, African American history and culture throughout the Americas, and the origins of African Americans in Africa. The more than 4,000 articles range from Affirmative Action to Zydeco, and span over four million years from the earliest-known hominids to 2005.

Encyclopedia of African Nations and Civilizations

Print Location:
Brooks Library, 1st floor, Ref DT14.E43 2002
This encyclopedia discusses the economy and history of northern, eastern, western, central and southern Africa.

International Historical Statistics: Africa, Asia & Oceania, 1750-1993

Print Location: Brooks Library, 1st floor, Ref HA4675.M552 1998
Topics include: population, vital statistics, labor, industry, agriculture, external trade, transportation and communication, education, and prices in Africa, Asia, and Oceania, 1750-1993.

Asian history

Bibliography of Asian Studies:
This database contains records on all subjects (especially in the humanities and social sciences) pertaining to East, Southeast, and South Asia, published worldwide from 1971 to the present.

Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire:
Print Location: Brooks Library, 3rd floor: DS798.4.A88 2004
This encyclopedia presents the history and culture of the Mongols. While particular emphasis is placed on the Mongol Empire, entries cover the country's entire history, ranging from geography to culture, religion, important people, battles, daily life, and folklore. The volume ends with a list of rulers over Mongolia and the Mongol Empire, a detailed chronology of events from 209 B.C.E. to 2003 C.E., a general bibliography; and a comprehensive index.

International Historical Statistics: Africa, Asia & Oceania, 1750-1993

Print Location: Brooks Library, 1st floor, Ref HA4675.M552 1998
Topics include: population, vital statistics, labor, industry, agriculture, external trade, transportation and communication, education, prices. Statistics derived from numerous primary sources.

European history

Ancient Europe 8000 B.C.--A.D. 1000 : Encyclopedia of the Barbarian World:
Print Location: Brooks Library, 1st floor, Ref D62.A52 2004

This encyclopedia covers the Mesolithic to Copper Age (c. 8000-2000 B.C.) and the Bronze Age to Early Middle Ages (c. 3000 B.C.-A.D. 1000).

British History Online
A digital library containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles. Created by the Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament Trust.

Dictionary of Historic Documents

Print Location: Brooks Library, 1st floor, Ref D9.D525 2003
This is a dictionary of historic documents, not a full-text publication of the documents. That said, it's a great resource for identifying historic acts and laws, written speeches, religious proclamations, treaties, journals, and a smattering of books. Mainly Western in scope, entries range from ancient history to modern times.

Encyclopedia of European Social History from 1350 to 2000

Print Location: Brooks Library, 1st floor, Ref HN373.E63 2001
Essays in this set look at the history of everyday people, starting with the definition, development and methodology of social history, and exemplified under topics such as the Reformation, the Enlightenment, regionalism, specific geographic regions, economics and colonialism. This set is arranged thematically, with each essay containing cross-references and a bibliography. Volume I also has an annotated chronology of each decade.

EuroDocs: Primary Historical Documents from Western Europe
Descriptive directory of links to Western European historical documents. Selected transcriptions, facsimiles and translations.

Europa: History of the European Union
Find out more about how the EU evolved from a community of six into a union of 27 countries. This website covers the shared history and cultures of these countries from 1945 to today.

Great Lives from History: Renaissance to 1900:
Print Location: Brooks Library, 1st floor, Ref CT104.G68 1989

This five-volume work examines the lives of 450 individuals whose contributions greatly influenced the world's cultures that flourished from the Renaissance through 1900. An annotated bibliography accompanies each entry.


International Historical Statistics: Europe, 1750-1993:
Print Location: Brooks Library, 1st floor, Ref HA1107.M5 1998
Topics include: population, vital statistics, labor, industry, agriculture, external trade, transportation and communication, education, prices. Statistics derived from numerous primary sources.


Intute: History:
This website presents the history of human life, communities, values, and systems in English local history, national British history, European history, and world history. Each resource has been evaluated by subject specialists at UK universities. Related Intute sites focus on the Mediterranean and near-Eastern civilization before the fall of the western Roman Empire as well as European archaeology and languages.


Kingdoms of Europe: an Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ruling Monarchs from Ancient Times to the Present:
Print Location: Brooks Library, 1st floor, Ref D107.G85 1981
This encyclopedia is useful in identifying the historical significance of individual monarchs and ruling families.

Middle Eastern history

Historical Atlas of the Middle East:
Print Location: Brooks Library, 1st floor, Ref G2206.S1 F7 1993

This atlas comprises over 100 maps, illustrating the earliest Egyptian empires up to 1993. Themes include: Arab Period, Muslim World, Crusaders and Muslims, the Further Spread of Islam, Ottoman World, and the Twentieth Century.  

Russian history
Cold War International History Project (CWIHP):
The Project supports the full and prompt release of historical materials by governments on all sides of the Cold War, and seeks to accelerate the process of integrating new sources, materials and perspectives from the former "Communist bloc" with the historiography of the Cold War which has been written over the past few decades largely by Western scholars reliant on Western archival sources. It also seeks to transcend barriers of language, geography, and regional specialization to create new links among scholars interested in Cold War history.

Revelations From the Russian Archives:
Print location: Brooks Library, 3rd floor: CD1711.R488 1997
This exhibit, available online and in print, presents documents covering the Soviet period in Russia, from 1917 to 1991. These documents were once held in archives in Moscow and Leningrad but were presented in the 1990s with the assistance of the Library of Congress and other collaborators.

Women's history

Women in World History: a Biographical Encyclopedia:
Print Location: Brooks Library, 1st floor, Ref HQ1115.W6 1999
This encyclopedia provides biographies of women heretofore undocumented in male-centered histories. The encyclopedia has 90 genealogical charts, which note name changes after marriage. Entries range from 3100 B.C.E. through the 1990s.

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