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Welcome to the History subject guide - your guide to using the library resources, services and facilities for your subject.

What are secondary sources?

A secondary source has been created by someone who did not experience first-hand or participate in the events or conditions you're researching. Secondary sources interpret and analyse primary sources. For your research they are generally journal articles and scholarly books but can also include reference books, reviews, commentaries, conference reports and proceedings, dictionaries, etc.

Searching for secondary sources

You can use online databases to search for secondary sources such as journal articles, book chapters, book reviews, conference reports, etc.

Many of these are bibliographic (abstracting & indexing) databases so they will not provide full text. Though if you see Findit@Edinburgh click on this and it should take you to full text.

History Databases

Reference works, dictionaries, e-books, etc.

Using DiscoverEd to find secondary sources

As well as searching the Library's physical and local collections i.e. books, e-books, journals, etc., DiscoverEd is also searching a wide range of the e-journals and databases the Library has access to so it's easy to find scholarly literature. DiscoverEd is always a good place to start your searching.

E-resources trials

The Library regularly arranges trials to new resources, including databases. It's always worthwhile checking the list of current trials as there could be something available for a short period that is just what you are looking for. 

Databases for other subject areas

The academic field of History crosses over with a number of other disciplines. Depending on your research area it may be worthwhile looking at the databases available in other subject areas e.g.

See a full list of subjects and their recommended databases at:

Google Scholar

Google Scholar Search

You can use Google Scholar to search for academic resources including journal articles, peer-reviewed papers, books and theses.