Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

History and Historical Research: Home

Starting points for Historical Research Methodology

History Past and Present

Reference Books and EBooks

Before beginning historical research in any area, be sure you know what has already been done in that field. Nothing is more embarrassing than finding that your "original" conclusions have been published.  In order to know what has already been done, start with basic sources such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, textbooks, monographs, and journal databases.

To specifically locate reference sources, you may want to begin with the Gale Virtual Reference Library which can be accessed as a database or via the online catalog.

Below is a representative list, not a complete bibliography of resources available. Also, most of the titles are EBooks that you can access through the library online catalog and read on your computer.

Below are some representative titles:

Reference, Information Literacy, and Library Instruction

Patricia Brown's picture
Patricia Brown
201E Watson Memorial Library
318 357-6263

Ask for an Individual Research Consultations

Please contact a reference librarian to set up a research consultation (click for the online form). We can do these face-to-face, email, or phone. 

The librarian with a background in history is

Abbie Landry, Director of Libraries


Primary Sources

Primary sources can be located online through places such as

Louisiana Digital Library

American Memory (Library of Congress)

National Archives

National Archives United Kingdom

Watson Library also has purchased online newspapers and document collections that can be found under History databases:

   African American Historical Serials Collection

   African American Newspapers 1827-1998

   America's Historical Newspapers: Louisiana 1837-1922

   American Antiquarian Society Historical Periodical Collection Series 5: 1866-1877

   Civil War Primary Documents  

   European Views of the Americas: 1493-1750

   History E-Books:  Defining Documents in American History

Journals and Databases

If you find a particular article and need to find the journal online, go to the library webpage and click on NSUJournal List on the right side menu on the webpage.  This will take you to a search engine which will help you locate journals by title. If the journal is available online, you will see the year and after clicking on the year, you will see the volume,issue, and date which will take you to the table of contents to locate the specific article. If the article is not available online, you can request it through interlibrary loan.

To find articles by subject, author, title, etc. go to the library webpage and click on databases on the right hand menu. You can search by database title by clicking on Database Directory if you know which database to use, otherwise you can also see all the history databases by selecting History.

Especially useful databases:

Academic Search Complete

History Reference Center


Military and Government Collection

Project Muse

World History Collection

An unique resource is WorldCat listed at the bottom of the history resources. This is a catalog of books, internet resources, audio-visual items, serials, sounds, articles, maps, and computer items. It also lists archival resources. Items that are available in Watson Library are highlighted in the citation. WorldCat will also indicate how many libraries and which ones contain the item. This is useful to find citations for books you may wish to order via interlibrary loan.


Interlibrary Loan

To access books and articles that are not available in the library or online through the ebooks or databases, you may use interlibrary loan. This is a free service and you can sign up using the link on the right side menu on the library webpage. You must know the bibliographic information for the book or journal article that you need. Books are loaned from other libraries and may come via courier or mail. This may be three to fourteen days. Books must be returned to the lending library on time or else you must pay a fine. If you need an item longer than the loan period, please request a renewal through the online interlibrary loan system. It is up to the lending library to grant this. If you cannot come to campus to retrieve books, we recommend you do the interlibrary loan through your nearest public library.

Journal articles may come online or photocopied. Often if onlline, you may received the article through your email in 24-48 hours. Photocopies will take longer since they will come through the mail. These do not need to be returned.

If you have any questions about signing up for or using interlibrary loan, please contact a reference librarian.