Skip to main content

Today's hours:

See all library hours »

  • Ask a Librarian
  • FAQ

HIST/AFRS 360 Black Business and Social Movements in the Twentieth-Century


Reference Sources

Historical dictionaries, encyclopedias and biographies are essential reference sources.  Consult them to confirm "common knowledge", discover affiliations and related topics, and utilize their bilbiographies to find additional sources, both primary and secondary.


These general studies and overviews are an esssential starting place.   TAKE NOTE ESPECIALLY OF THE FOOTNOTES AND REFERENCES - they will lead you to furhter primary and secondary sources.

WHen you find one good book for your topic on the shelves, look around the area and you will likely find others. NOTHING REPLACES BROWSING THE SHELVES AND SERENDIPITY!

Learn the language of library catalogs

Take note of Library of Congress Subject Headings assigned to each record in the catalog.  It is a controlled vocabulary, so make a list of specific terms you see there to use in your keyword searches. 

Follow subject links to explore the catalog. Many subject heading terms may not be words you would intuitively associate with your topic, 

Notice how LCSH are configured, for exampe how and when they include country, state and city names.

Here are a couple examples related to this course:

Brainstorm synonyms to search the catalog

Noticing the subject headings assigned to books related to your topic will help you brainstorm keywords for furhter searching.  Think of every synonym you can for any term related to your topic.

For example:

business, enterprise, business enterprise, employer, employee, employment, work, worker,  job, career (NB an * is a truncation you can use for keyword searching. e.g. employ*  tells the catalog to search for the terms employER, employEE, employMENT etc.)

african american, negro, black, minority

specific occupations: barber, tailor, banking, insurance, record label,