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History Guide

Welcome to the History Library Guide. This guide is intended to help you make the most of library resources for your history classes.

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are works that analyze, interpret, and synthesize information from a combination of primary sources and other secondary sources. These can include:

  • Journal articles
  • Conference papers
  • Dissertations and Theses
  • Scholarly monographs

Popular sources, such as magazines articles, newspaper articles, and history websites can also be secondary sources, but they are geared toward a broad, general audience. Popular sources have not undergone peer review, and typically they do not have citations. You should generally avoid using popular sources for your assignments unless you are using them as primary sources.

Secondary sources can sometimes also be primary sources. For example, Winston Churchill's A History of the English-Speaking Peoples published in 1956 is a secondary source if you are using it for research on British history prior to the twentieth century. However, for understanding British national identity in the mid-twentieth century, it would serve as a primary source.

Locating Secondary Sources

To do a broad search that includes monographs, articles, dissertations, and other secondary source materials, you can use the Primo Search tool. This will search a combination of materials owned by UF and materials available through our database subscriptions.

  • Searching "Everything" will return results with both physical and electronic items.
  • Searching "UF Library Catalog" will exclude items from our subscription databases.
  • Searching "Statewide Catalog" will expand your search to include items owned by other Florida colleges and universities.
  • Searching "Articles" will limit your search results to contents from our subscription databases.

The search bar for the UF Libraries Catalog has the words civil war in quotation marks and UF Library Catalog is selected from the search options.


To do a more focused search of electronic materials, you can search individual databases. You can access these by searching the A-Z Databases list.

The following databases provide access to a wide range of eBooks and journal articles on history :

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