Holocaust & Genocide Guide: To Begin

The Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at West Point educates the Corps of Cadets about genocide and mass atrocity and inspires them as officers to the cause of prevention. Intrinsic to this mission is the imperative to better educate.

Tips for online historical research

Suggestions for successful searching that will save time:
 
Need further assistance? Talk to Corey Harmon, Department of History Liaison Librarian either at the Reference Desk, Jefferson Hall or Jefferson Hall Room 228.  Also e-mail: geoffrey.harmon@usma.edu.
 
Before building your search, ask yourself the following questions:

1. What information are you looking for? Consider stating this in writing in two or three sentences.

2. Identify general concepts about the information that you are looking for, and ask how they might relate to the search terms that you might use.

3. Are you interested in a specific author’s work? If so, then that might be a very good place to start. You might use articles by this author to discover other relevant documents to satisfy your research needs.

4. Are there specific journals that publish articles related to your subject?

5. After you have located a couple of relevant documents, consider using descriptors attached to the record to locate similar records.

6. Have you ever tried or do you know about the following databases?
 
 
 
America: History & Life - Indexes literatue covering history and culture of the United States and Canada, from
prehistory to the present. The database indexes 1,700 journals and also includes citation and links to book and
media reviews. Coverage starts in 1964.
 
 
ConnectNY - 18 New York state member colllege library union catalog and inter-library loan program.
 
 
Historical Abstracts - covers the history of the world excluding the U.S. and Canada from 1450 to the present.
Indexes more than 1,700 academic historical journals in over 40 languages. Publication dates of coverage:
1955 to present.
 
 
Inter-Library Loan
 
 
Google Scholar - will identify authors' works/articles that can be copied that are not in the USMA Library holdings.
 
 
Google Books -familiarize yourself with the options offered in the "advanced" search mode.
 
 
Hathi Trust digital Library - Found under the USMA databases under "general"
 
 
Worldcat First Search - Find "First Search" by clicking on the USMA Library databases then click on "Other" and
then click on "First Search" which is a more complete vesion of the OCLC "super-Catalog". Worldcat includes
bibliogrpahic records for over 1.5 billion items. USMA Library holdings are indicated in the color green.
 
 
Additional tips:

• Make a chronology. It will be helpful when you do your outline.

• Make an index of names of people and places – check for variant spellings.

• Note date of major events. More likely to find books and articles about an event than a general time period.

• Contemporary people: Look for biographies, memories, autobiographical sources. These are often the easiest way to research a time period. Look for indexes for clues to associated people, events, places and standard spellings.

TIPS for Using the Internet:

Verify the authenticity of any site and use caution when dealing with unfamiliar addresses. Establish the author’s credentials, the web page affiliation, and date of creation. Look for contact details since reputable libraries and archives always provide a way to request additional information. Avoid the anonymous author, and watch for indications that the source is not legitimate. Find out where the information comes from, and determine if the site provides documentation. Beware of a site that contains information from an unnamed source. Always look for a known or respected authority or a well-known organizational support group. Be sure the source provides convincing evidence. As the internet grows, so do the opportunities for researchers to experience twentieth-first century technology.

Notice who is sponsoring the site: Look for sites connected with universities or libraries – here, the author’s professional reputation is riding on his or her words. (These sites usually end with edu/, org/, and gov/).

Contemporary Newspapers Reports
Can be found both online and in the microfilm cabinets on the East wing of the 2nd Floor of Jefferson Hall.

USMA Library Online Catalog: If in doubt about a title or where to look check the USMA Library catalog section: Journals/Newspapers. Use keyword searches rather than subject searches.

Note bibliographical citations (locations): CIRCULATING, GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS, MICROFILM/MICROFICHE, REFERENCE, RESERVE BOOK ROOM, GEOGRAPHY DEPARTMENT (WASHINGTON HALL) HISTORY DEPARTMENT (THAYER HALL), SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES and call numbers.
 
Multi-national union and census catalogues:
 
ViaLibri - meta-search for online inventory from over 15,000 antiquarian booksellers worldwide. This is an exceptionally convenient tool for searching the collections of various institutions along with the Google Book Search digitized "collection". Many of the databases searched are themselves compilations of collections of many libraries including WorldCat.
 
If you go to ViaLibri library search link (www.vialibrainet/library_search.php) you will find a search box followed by searchable databases. I recommend that the first thing you do, in the bottom of the search box where its says "Results display in," is click "Open in new window." If you open a new window, you will always have the ViaLibri search page available even as you look at your results. You will also be able to search another library while keeping the previous results available. If you do not open a new window, you will be forced into a series of back button clicks to return to th eViaLibri search page, and you have to close the matches from one library before you can locate those from another.
 
Once you fill in the book, author or keywords you want in the search box, scroll down to the name of the institution whose records you wish to search. Click the icon below the word "Search". Do not click the name of the institution unless you want to go to their search page. aThat is fine if you want to conduct multiple searches of the holdings of one library. However, if you want to search many libraries, you should conduct the search from the ViaLibri site.
 
The value of this library search is obvious for those trying to locate a copy of a rare book wherever it might be. It is also a great tool for finding the descriptions of these various institutions that may provide for these books, along with with discovering works of which you may not be aware. It also provides an excellent way to estimating a work's rarity.
 
Additional tips:

• Make a chronology. It will be helpful when you do your outline.

• Make an index of names of people and places – check for variant spellings.

• Note date of major events. More likely to find books and articles about an event than a general time period.

• Contemporary people: Look for biographies, memories, autobiographical sources. These are often the easiest way to research a time period. Look for indexes for clues to associated people, events, places and standard spellings.

TIPS for Using the Internet:

Verify the authenticity of any site and use caution when dealing with unfamiliar addresses. Establish the author’s credentials, the web page affiliation, and date of creation. Look for contact details since reputable libraries and archives always provide a way to request additional information. Avoid the anonymous author, and watch for indications that the source is not legitimate. Find out where the information comes from, and determine if the site provides documentation. Beware of a site that contains information from an unnamed source. Always look for a known or respected authority or a well-known organizational support group. Be sure the source provides convincing evidence. As the internet grows, so do the opportunities for researchers to experience twentieth-first century technology.

Notice who is sponsoring the site: Look for sites connected with universities or libraries – here, the author’s professional reputation is riding on his or her words. (These sites usually end with edu/, org/, and gov/).

Contemporary Newspapers Reports
Can be found both online and in the microfilm cabinets on the East wing of the 2nd Floor of Jefferson Hall.

USMA Library Online Catalog: If in doubt about a title or where to look check the USMA Library catalog section: Journals/Newspapers. Use keyword searches rather than subject searches.

Note bibliographical citations (locations): CIRCULATING, GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS, MICROFILM/MICROFICHE, REFERENCE, RESERVE BOOK ROOM, GEOGRAPHY DEPARTMENT (WASHINGTON HALL) HISTORY DEPARTMENT (THAYER HALL), SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES and call numbers.