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History 4903: War and American Society: Home

A guide to primary and secondary source research for History 4903 taught by Dr. Kinder in Fall 2016

Researching Primary & Secondary Sources on War and Am. Society

This guide covers resources for research on war and American society. It covers finding books at the OSU Library as well as e-book resources from the HathiTrust digital library and searching for books beyond our collection (for interlibrary loan).  The articles section covers the databases for journal articles in history and related fields.  Finally, there are links to primary source materials both in print at the OSU Library and in digital collections, databases offered by the Library and collections on the World Wide Web.

Course Guide URL:

History Research Guide:


Class session survey

Finding Books - Secondary and Primary Sources

Use the BOSS catalog system ( to search for books in the OSU Library Collection.  Enter your search terms (logging in with your O-Key credentials first to make sure you get all the resources we have in print and e-book format), and then click on the Books & Media tab to limit to books.  



In the results, Details gives you the bibliographic information about the book, Get It tells you if the physical book is on the shelf ("Item in Place"), and View It has the link to access e-books.

Combine keywords in a search box with the operator terms AND, OR, or NOT (use all caps):


You can also search by the Library of Congress Subject Headings (Subject) to find primary and secondary sources.

Some subject headings to use ( include

Afghan War, 2001-

United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783

United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

American Civil War (1861-1865)

Spanish American War, 1898

Iraq War, 2003-2011

Persian Gulf War, 1991

United States Army History

Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975

World War, 1914-1918

World War, 1939-1945


Sources for E-Books, etc. - Primary and Secondary Sources

 An extensive-book collection of scanned books, both older public domain books and some newer ones.  Also contains government documents and various print and manuscript items digitized form academic library collections.  Click on the Log In button the upper right-hand side of the homepage and then select Oklahoma State University; log in with your O-Key email and password. You can search for e-books by keyword, author, title, date, etc. HathiTrust books will also come up in BOSS Books & Media searches along with physical books.

Searches catalogs of most North American and European libraries. Books we own will be marked, but for others not in our collection, click on the link to the record and go to External Resources: Borrow from Another Library. From there, log in to the ILLiad interlibrary loan system with your O-Key email and password, then the form should be filled out for you.  Click Submit at the bottom of the page.

Has the full text of US dissertations from 1997 to the present, and some older ones as well (OSU dissertations from 1961 to the present).

Contains electronic Masters' theses as well as Dissertations from OSU (Dissertations from 1961 to the present as in Digital Dissertations).

Finding Journal Articles, etc. - Secondary Sources

Below are the key subject databases to search for journal articles (as well as books, book chapters, and other publications) on historical topics.  Many of the databases have full-text journal articles, but if the full text is not available, click on the Article Linker link ().  If another database from the OSU Library has the full text of the article, it will be displayed in a new window or a link to it will appear.  If an article is not available online from another database, you can get a copy of the article from interlibrary loan.  Make sure you are logged in, then click on the "Journal/Article Request" link and go the Interlibrary Services page that comes up (you will also need to log into that system).  The article citation information will automatically appear in the interlibrary loan form.  Click the "Submit" button, and you will receive an email when your article is available, usually within 48 hours.

You will need to log in with your OSU email address and O-Key password to access these databases off-campus.  Click HERE to log in.

Note: You can use the BOSS search engine to search several databases at once (search Everything and select Articles), but its coverage is not complete, so search the individual databases listed below first.

Below are two general databases that have some peer-reviewed articles (secondary sources) on history and American studies along with many other disciplines.