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The South: Culture and History: Southern History--Secondary Sources

This library guide is designed for researchers studying any topics related to the South's culture and history.


Libraries Catalog- Use the online catalog to locate book and journal holdings for all of the University Libraries.  Please note the Hoole Special Collection contains many materials that are not cataloged.

Scout- Another way to search the libraries catalog. Perform keyword searching and then limit your results on the right side of the screen by publication date, format, author, and more.

Google Books- find citations to thousands of online books.  Some charge a fee, but others are fully available online for free.

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are materials created by a person who was not at an event or by the author of a work of literature but who analyzed or commented on primary sources at a later time. Secondary sources include scholarly journals articles, books, conference proceedings, dissertations, and class lectures.  Secondary sources usually have bibliographies of primary sources, a formal writing style, and a critical approach. They provide a framework for your interpretation of primary sources.


Academic Search Premier- Very useful for starting an article search. Contains citations and full-text entries from hundreds of scholarly and popular periodicals. 

America: History and Life- The premier database for secondary sources in American history. 

American National Biography Online- This database offers biographical essays on famous Southern figures. It also gives you a short list of primary sources on that person.

Black Studies Center- Offers primary and secondary sources on African-American history.

Google Scholar- University of Alabama's portal for Google Scholar. Google Scholar is a special part of Google that only finds scholarly articles. As a UA student, you can access the texts of many of these articles by clicking the links that say "Full-Text @ UAlabama".

JSTOR- Contains thousands of articles from key journals in history, political science, sociology, women's studies, and African-American studies. 

 Literature Online (LION)- A fully searchable library of more than 350,000 works of English and American poetry, drama and prose, 315 full-text literature journals, and other key criticism and reference resources.

Literature Resource Center- Provides access to biographies, bibliographies, and critical analysis (criticisms) of authors from every age and literary discipline. Search by author name, title, genre, literary movement, or literary themes or combine criteria to create a highly-targeted custom search path. Also includes work overviews and plot summaries.

Advanced Article Databases

Here are a couple of article databases that are good for finding articles about English Literature. They involve more advanced searching than the previously listed databases.

 MLA International Bibliography- Produced by the Modern Language Association of America, consists of bibliographic records pertaining to literature, language, linguistics, and folklore, and includes coverage from 1926 to the present. It is more advanced because it is not all full-text, but it is a useful database for research in English courses.

Project Muse-  Project Muse provides full-text access to more than 400 scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences. This is another database that could provide useful articles.


You can use search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing to find web sites.  However, remember that finding web sites is easy; finding credible web sites is not. Use this evaluation checklist to help you decide if a web site is credible: Evaluation Steps--Crimson Navigate

Here are some search tools that focus mainly on credible sites:

CompletePlanet- A search tool that specializes in finding information that Google and Yahoo cannot.

Infomine's Social Sciences and Humanities Search- Locates high-caliber sites, eliminating most of the junk sites.

Intute- Access to the very best Web resources for education and research.

Librarians' Index to the Internet- This search tool finds only hand-picked web sites selected by librarians.

MLA Format

MLA Formatting and Style Guide- this guide developed by Purdue University gives basic examples of how to cite books, articles, and other sources.  Please consult the MLA Handbook and your instructor for advice.