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American Studies: Start Here
This guide presents an introduction to library resources for American Studies.
This guide provides information on using the library for research in American studies at the University of Alabama. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me, visit the Gorgas Library Information Desk, or use Ask a Librarian to request assistance.
Primary sources are original materials that document an era or event, created by someone who witnessed or lived through it. Examples include letters, diaries, photographs, manuscripts, magazines, and newspapers. This page provides access to selected primary source collections, organized by time period, resources on Alabama, and links to additional resource guides.
The University of Alabama Libraries provides digital access to a wealth of historical and contemporary newspapers. Begin with the links on this page, and explore the History resource guide linked on this page for more comprehensive coverage.
On this page, you'll find links to databases, streaming services, and suggested books to get you started on your pop culture research. Topics covered include film and television, music, comics, video games, and sports.
The main search tool for UA Libraries, Scout allows you to search the catalog, most of the libraries' databases, and the digital repository Acumen. Scout is a great place to start a broad search on a topic, but more targeted searching may be more successful in the catalog or subject-specific databases.
Search the traditional catalog to find print, ebook, music, sound recordings, video, video, and more in the Libraries' collections. The catalog is useful tool to help find specific items in the collection, rather than broad searching.
Images of the full text of many scholarly titles in a range of subject areas, including literature, biological sciences, economics, finance, and statistics. Search the archive or pull up a specific article.
Project MUSE provides full-text access scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences. The database is a collaboration between Johns Hopkins University and other university presses and not-for-profit publishers. Also included are the UPCC collections in Asian and Pacific Studies, and Poetry, Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction.
Encyclopedias and Handbooks:
Start with the reference works listed below for broad coverage of topics in American studies. To find more specific reference works, explore the digital collections linked below, or try searching in Scout with the terms "encyclopedia," "handbook," "guide," or "companion" along with your key words.
Published by Johns Hopkins University Press for the American Studies Association (ASA), the Encyclopedia of American Studies covers the history, philosophy, arts, and cultures of the United States from pre-colonial days to the present. Included are articles with accompanying bibliographies, related websites, illustrations, and other supplemental materials.
Oxford Bibliographies Online is a scholar-curated library of discipline-based subject modules for the social sciences and humanities. This database combines the features of an annotated bibliography and a high-level encyclopedia, and guides researchers to scholarship produced across a wide variety of subjects.
The Oxford Reference Online Premium collection contains reference books covering a wide variety of topics; dictionaries of architecture, plants, geography, literature, mathematics, mythology, and many others. Includes the popular “Oxford Companion” series.
UA does not subscribe to all titles for this publisher. Please contact a librarian to request access to unsubscribed titles.
This database provides online access to three components of the Cambridge Companion series from Cambridge University Press: Cambridge Companions to Literature and Classics; Cambridge Companions to Religion, Philosophy, and Culture; and Cambridge Companions to Music. The collection is fully searchable by author, title, subject, or keyword.
WorldCat is the world's largest network of library content and services. WorldCat libraries are dedicated to providing access to their resources on the Web, where most people start their search for information. You can search for popular books, music CDs and videos—all of the physical items you're used to getting from libraries. WorldCat can be used to verify citations, locate an item in another library, or to provide accurate citation information for inter-library loan requests. (Does not include citations to individual articles, stories in periodicals, or book chapters).
Sometimes you are doing research for a project and you need to see what has been published on the topic. Let’s say you are thinking about doing research on gender roles in Shakespeare’s comedies and you want to see if any scholarship has been published on the topic. You can use WorldCat to identify LC subject headings relevant to your project, as well as locate and identify rare books that might exist on the subject.
If you need materials that aren't available in the UA catalog, you can request them from another library via interlibrary loan. You can receive copies of physical books or scans of articles and book chapters. The video tutorial below provides instructions for setting up your account and requesting materials. A transcript is available at the link.