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A Guide to World History

Reference Works - A Place to Begin

Encyclopedia of Human Rights (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2009) - offers comprehensive coverage of all aspects of human rights theory, practice, law, and history in over 300 entries signed by leading scholars and human rights experts. The coverage includes major figures, organizations and institutions, human rights events and crises, and human rights norms. eBook

Langley, Winston. Encyclopedia of Human Rights Issues since 1945 (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999) - print

Parry & Grant Encyclopaedic Dictionary of International Law John P. Grant and J. Craig Barker, eds. 3rd ed. (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2009). eBook

Journal Article Databases


America: History & Life - the definitive index of literature covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present, with indexing for 1,700 journals from 1964 to present.

Historical Abstracts - historical coverage of the world from 1450 to the present (excluding the United States and Canada), indexing of more than 2,300 academic historical journals in over 40 languages back to 1955. 

HeinOnline - more than 900 searchable full-text law journals and many legal resources, including the Code of Federal Regulations, United States Code, and U.S. Statutes at Large

NexisUni - more than 15,000 news, legal and business sources, including journals, television and radio broadcasts, newswires and blogs; local, regional, national and international newspapers with deep archives; extensive legal sources for federal and state cases and statutes, including U.S. Supreme Court decisions since 1790 

Index to Legal Periodicals & Books indexing and full text of over 1,025 legal journals, law reviews, yearbooks, institutes, statutes, bar association publications, university publications, and government publications.

Index to Legal Periodicals Retrospective 1908-1981 indexes legal periodicals published in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand between 1908 and 1981.

Worldwide Political Science Abstracts (1975 - ) covers political science discipline and its complementary fields, including international relations, law, and public administration/policy. Provides abstracts of journal articles and citations to book reviews drawn from over 1,500+ serials publications and also provides abstracts of books, book chapters, dissertations and working papers. 

Political Science Database (1985-) full-text of 430 political science and international relations journals, many of which are indexed in Worldwide Political Science Abstracts. Covers the literature of political science and international relations, including such topics as comparative politics, political economy, international development, environmental policy, and hundreds of related topics. Also included are hundreds of recent, full-text, political science dissertations from U.S. and Canadian universities, thousands of current working papers from the Political Science Research Network.


Google Scholar vs. Primo

JSTOR vs. Academic Search Complete

Primary Sources

Print Sourcebooks

Catalogers at the Library of Congress use the subheading "Sources" at the end of a string of subheadings to indicate anthologies of primary sources. However, cataloging is not a perfect science, so not every collection of primary sources has this subheading. For example, a search for the keyword phrase "documentary sourcebook" in the WU Libraries' catalog produces seven titles, only three of which have "sources" as a subheading. In other words, performing a subject search will not produce a complete list of all primary source collections. Sometimes the source one wants to find is not in an anthology but cited in a bibliography of another work. You might want to try an advanced search with a combination of subject headings and keywords like “sources,” "sourcebook," "primary sources," "primary documents," etc.

There are other subheadings indicative of primary source types, iincluding "Personal narratives," "Correspondence," "Manuscripts," "Maps," "Literary collections," "Biography," et. al.

Digital Collections

British Online Archives

Establishing the Post-War International Order, 1944-1961 - curated in association with the National Archives (UK), provides an unparalleled insight into the political, economic, and military foundations of the post-war international order. Most of the documents are derived from the annals of the British Board of Trade, Cabinet Office, Foreign Office, and Treasury. The materials, which are diverse in nature, cover a wide range of subject matter, shedding light on the perspectives of various state and non-state actors during periods of both cooperation and conflict. The United Nations (UN), Marshall Plan, World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and European Economic Community (EEC), to name but a few examples, are all accounted for. 

Paris Peace Conference and Beyond, 1919-1939 - The Paris Peace Conference was a meeting of Allied diplomats that took place in the aftermath of the First World War. Its purpose was to impose peace terms on the vanquished Central Powers and establish a new international order. This collection contains archival material relating to this tumultuous period in European and world history. Most of the files, including Foreign Office: Peace Conference; British Delegation, Correspondence and Papers, are drawn from the UK National Archives, while the British Library provided the personal papers of Lord Robert Cecil and Sir Arthur Balfour. The documents cover the treaties of Versailles, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Trianon, Sèvres, Lausanne, and Locarno, as well as the foundation of the League of Nations

Prosecuting the Holocaust: British Investigations into Nazi Crimes, 1944-1949  - Drawn from The National Archives (UK) and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, this collection contains a wealth of information regarding the British government's efforts to investigate and prosecute Nazi crimes during the period 1944-1949. The files include materials from the War Office: Judge Advocate General's Office; British Army of the Rhine War Crimes Group; Military Deputy's Department) and War Crimes Case Files. The evidence gathered sheds light on almost every aspect of the Holocaust, from the concentration camp system to the mass murder of the “incurably sick” in psychiatric hospitals. More importantly, it gives a voice to the victims of these atrocities, many of whom testified about their experiences immediately after the war. 

Gale's Making of Modern Law

Foreign, Comparative and International Law, 1600-1926 - Consists of treatises and monographs handling such subject areas of International Law, Comparative Law, Foreign Law and some others. This collection gathers together over 2,700 titles that address issues in the realms of foreign, comparative, Islamic, Jewish, and even Roman and ancient law. The vast majority of the titles—over 2,000—concentrate on international law. Of special interest in the subfield of international law will be works by such great legal theorists as Gentili, Grotius, Selden, Zouche, Pufendorf, Bijnkershoek, Wolff, Vattel, Martens, Mackintosh, and Wheaton, among others.

Legal Treatises, 1800-1926 is the most comprehensive full-text collection of Anglo-American legal treatises available today. Sourced from the world's foremost law libraries, this archive covers nearly every aspect of American and British law and encompasses a broad array of the analytical, theoretical, and practical literature for research in U.S. and British legal history. It features casebooks, local practice manuals, form books, works for lay readers, pamphlets, letters, speeches, and other works from the most influential writers and legal thinkers of the time

Government Documents



U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs, 1832-1978 contains the world's most comprehensive online collection of records and briefs brought before the nation's highest court by leading legal practitioners. It includes transcripts, applications for review, motions, petitions, supplements, and other official papers of the most-studied and talked-about cases, including many that resulted in landmark decisions. Approximately 150,000 Supreme Court cases are featured, the majority consisting of those for which the Court did not give a full opinion.


Legislative Insight provides legislative histories with digital full-text publications. It contains over 27,000 legislative histories for federal laws, including some enacted as far back as 1789. It only includes congressional publications that are related to bills enacted into law that are included in this database. For other full-text congressional documents, see ProQuest Congressional.

ProQuest Congressional comprehensive access to U.S. legislative information. Includes: CIS Legislative Histories (public laws back to 1969), Congressional publications (1817 - ), testimony from Congressional hearings (1824-), Congressional Record and Federal Register, U.S. Serial Set, 1789-1969, Serial Set Maps, 1789-1969, and more. 


Catalog of U.S. Government Publications bibliographic records for U.S. Government publications generated by the Government Printing Office since July 1976. Many records contain direct links to publications available online. Updated daily with new and historical publication records.

U. S. Declassified Documents Online selected previously classified government documents ranging from the years immediately following World War II, when declassified documents were first made widely available, through the 1970s. Search by name, date, word, or phrase, or focus on document type, issue date, source institution, classification level, date declassified, sanitization, completeness, number of pages, and document number. Nearly every major foreign and domestic event of these years is covered: the Cold War, Vietnam, foreign policy shifts, the civil rights movement, and others.



Human Rights Library - more than sixty thousand core human rights documents, including several hundred human rights treaties and other primary international human rights instruments.

Avalon Project important documents in Law, History, and Diplomacy from Lillian Goldman Law Library at Yale University Law School. Ancient through 21st Century documents including Project DIANA - An Online Human Rights Archive (court records around important human rights cases such as Haitian Refugee Center v. Warren Christopher and Doe v. Karadzic.

United Nations, Official Documents (1993 - ) originating from duty stations worldwide, including selective documents of the regional commissions: Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and Economic Commission for Europe (ECE). Older documents are being added on a daily basis.

UN Archives (Geneva) - gives access to the fonds and collections managed by the United Nations Library and Archives in Geneva, including the archives of the United Nations in Geneva, the League of Nations (1919-1946), international peace movements (from 1870), and private papers. It offers the possibility to search both the description of files or archival documents and in the full text of archival documents that have been digitized.


Electronic Enlightenment collection of edited correspondence of the early modern period, linking people across Europe, the Americas and Asia from the early 17th to the mid-19th century — reconstructing one of the world's great historical "conversations".

Immigrations, Migrations, and Refugees: Global Perspectives, 1941 - 1996 news and analysis from reports gathered every day between the early 1940s and 1996 by a U.S. government organization that became part of the CIA. These include translated and English-language radio and television broadcasts, newspapers, periodicals and government documents. Additionally, the archive contains one-of-a-kind analysis of the reports.

Criminal Justice Database (1969-) - covers over 450 publications which support research on crime, its causes and impacts, legal and social implications, as well as litigation and crime trends. In addition to scholarly journals, this database also includes trade publications, reports, news, crime statistics, and crime blogs. Covers such topics as criminology, corrections & law enforcement, criminal law, criminal justice, criminal rehabilitation, addictions, alcoholism, gambling, child abuse, and industrial crime.

Primary Source Collections in WGSS/LGBTQ History 

see also the research guide for HIST 4918 Sexuality in the US/ HIST 301U US Sexuality