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This guide is designed to help history students find resources through the library. We'll point you toward the best databases and tools to use. You might even find pointers geared toward a specific class or assignment!

Library Catalog (TOPCAT)

ProQuest Ebook Central

Google Scholar



JSTOR contains a wide-range of information related to the humanities. It is a go-to database for many students.


  • Use Advanced Search
  • Keep your searches broad at first, use the filter options to narrow your results
  • JSTOR doesn't show you the subject terms, so you might have to build your word bank before coming here, that way you'll have plenty of terms to try if your first search doesn't work


  • Choose an EBSCO database from the Databases A-Z list (like History Reference Center)
  • Click "Choose Databases" above the search bar
  • Select additional EBSCO databases that could be useful for you
    • Think outside the box - maybe you're a history student, but could an education database be helpful? What about science? Psychology?
  • Start with Advanced Search, look at the predictive text that drops down when you start typing for ideas on building up your word bank
  • Look at the SUBJECT terms included in the results list, add relevant ones to your word bank
  • Use the limits on the left, including PEER REVIEWED, FULL TEXT, and PUBLICATION DATE
  • Some EBSCO databases have a Thesaurus Tool - check your terms there if you're not sure where to start
  • From within an article record you can open the full text, email the article to yourself, print, copy the permalink, add it to your folder (NOTE: folders require you to create a free EBSCO account), or copy the APA citation (double check this for errors!)

Google is great for casual research, but Google Scholar is a better resource to find information for your assignments. Use the link to GOOGLE SCHOLAR that's on the library homepage. This is synced to our databases, so if we have full text, it should give you a link. What you find in Google Scholar is, by default, of a higher caliper than what you find in regular Google.

This is also a great way to check for full text if you find a citation elsewhere. If Google Scholar doesn't lead you to the full text, contact the library for help getting a free copy of the resource you want.

We have a reference collection in the library, but you’ll also find many reference books in our general collection.

Here’s a basic list of things that qualify as reference materials:

  • almanacs
  • atlases
  • bibliographies
  • citation manuals
  • dictionaries
  • directories
  • encyclopedias
  • guidebooks
  • handbooks
  • indexes
  • manuals
  • statistics
  • yearbooks

TOPCAT  (our library catalog) is best for finding books, reference books, CDs, DVDs, journals, and some of our ebooks and ejournals. You'll also find items held by other SWITCH libraries, which you can request online.


  • Use the Advanced Search option
  • Start with broad search terms, as you become more familiar with the topic, get more specific. Use the limiters on the left of the results page to narrow your results
  • When searching for ebooks, make sure to limit the library to Alverno (or use Ebook Central)
  • Use the listed subject headings. Find a result that's similar to what you want, look at the subject terms it uses, try those in your search instead.


Ebook Central is our main ebook provider. Everything you find here is immediately accessible for your as an Alverno patron. You can access Ebook Central from off campus by logging into your TOPCAT account.


  • Create a free login on Ebook Central to download books or save them to your virtual bookshelf
  • If you download books, you'll need Adobe Digital Editions to read them on your computer
  • If you make notes/highlight as you read, we HIGHLY recommend you chose the read online option and save the book to your bookshelf
    • This saves your notes/highlighting forever. If you annotate in a downloaded ebook, everything is deleted when your checkout term is over. 
  • Use the Subjects and dropdown Focus recommendations to build your wordbank


Questions? Send an email to:

Citing in APA 7

NoodleTools helps create accurate citations, reference lists, and annotated bibliographies. For best results, use it in conjugation with the APA manual or the APA Style website.