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Historical Research

A general guide to historical research


Books for historical research can be found in many different library spaces on campus such as the Law LibrarySpecial Collections Research CenterEducation LibraryFine Arts Library and so forth.  Therefore, it is important to learn how to conduct your research in a variety of libraries on UK campus and online.  Click here for a list of all the UK Libraries.

However, most likely you'll find books for much of your historical research needs at William T. Young Library or in ebook format through the Libraries catalog.

Further, most of the history books you'll be locating in W.T. Young Library reside in the following call number classifications.

You'll find books in these call number classifications on floors 3 and 4.

To find books at UK Libraries search using InfoKat Discovery

(Note: You can also find articles and all other types of formats searching in InfoKat Discovery, but for a more targeted, powerful search to locate relevant articles try the database's native interface. See the "Finding Articles" tab.) 

Try starting with a keyword search

  1. Enter words that describe your topic (names, places, events, etc.).
  2. When you find a book on your topic, examine its subject headings for relevance to your topic.
  3. Click on a hyperlinked subject heading to perform subject heading search and retrieve related books.

You can also try performing a subject heading search in InfoKat Discovery, if you know a Library of Congress subject heading.  Here are some subject heading searches using US History as an example.  Depending upon what era, country, culture, event, etc., you are researching, try looking for those subject headings using the steps for keyword searching listed above.

  • United States -- History
  • United States -- History -- 1865-1873
  • United States -- History -- 1919-1933 -- Pictorial Works
  • United States -- History -- 20th Century -- Sources

Keep in mind that there are still many Library of Congress subject headings that do not begin with "United States -- History" such as:

  • Fires -- Illinois -- Chicago -- History -- 19th century
  • Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806)
  • Anti-communist movements -- Middle West -- History -- 20th century

Once you discover a book in the Library Catalog that you think may be useful to your research, review the record for additional descriptive information.