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HIS 410: Secondary Sources

Resources for HIS 410, specifically focused on Civil Rights in the North.

Some Questions to Ask About Secondary Sources

What are the author's credentials?

Why did they write this?

Does this reflect current scholarship or is it a past way of thinking?

What is the author saying?

Why are they saying it?

How are they making their case?

Do they acknowledge any biases or discuss any other viewpoints?


We don't have the full-text for that article you want, or don't have the book in our library?  That's OK - we'll go get it for you!  You can request books, articles, and other items that we don't own through a process called Interlibrary Loan (ILL).  You can use this service in a number of places, such as:

  • Directly in WISE
  • Within many subject databases (EBSCO, etc.)

Click here to get an account now!

Getting Background Information, going beyond Wikipedia

Wikipedia can be a great source for getting background information on you topic. You can use Wikipedia to help pluck out the keywords to search for when you go to WISE and the library databases to do research. But here are some similar online reference sources from the library with lots of authoritative information, from brief entries to in-depth articles.


WorldCat Discovery search box example

Using WISE

By now you have used WISE and you think you know everything, even when you get frustrated.


Tips to use WISE:

Pull out keywords: And try different ones. WISE and our databases can't understand questions

"Quotation Marks": WISE will search each word individually. Use quotation marks to search for a group of words or phrase.

Asterisks: Use * to search for different possibilities of word endings. By searching danger* you are searching danger, dangers, dangerous, etc.

Use advanced search to search by title, author, or within a certain date range.

Narrow down your search using the sidebar.



These are great resources for articles on historical scholarship. Unlike WISE, they are narrowed in scope by subject so that your results will be more focused.  However, remember that if you would like to find a monograph (book) to consult, you'll need to search WISE.













Subject Guide

John Garrison's picture
John Garrison
McGill G01 (ground floor)