Searching for resources
There are two key library catalogues you may use when studying at Cambridge:
- Girton Library catalogue (Heritage) – search Girton Library’s collection and see if items are available or already on loan. See our eGuide for further information.
- iDiscover – to search across the University’s print and electronic collections (including books, eBooks, journals, newspapers, articles and much more). Most, but not all, of Girton’s collection can be found here. See our iDiscover: eGuide for further information.
You will be able to borrow from Girton’s Main Library and the University Library. Your subject-specific library is the Seeley Historical Library. However, there may be other libraries within Cambridge which stock useful resources. For a full list of the Cambridge libraries see the directory and check each library for access guidelines.
Search Spacefinder to find places of study within Cambridge.
For information on searching general databases and journals see our eGuide: Beyond books: finding articles and journals. To find links to specific databases and journals in eresources and ejournals LibGuide. Relevant resources can also be found within subject LibGuides and Newpapers LibGuide.
Seeley Historical Library provides a comprehensive list of electronic resources organised by paper. Some key resources include:
Historical abstracts Use information from over 2300 journals, it covers world history from 1450 to the present (excluding the United States and Canada).
NB. Use * to truncate search terms.
International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) Contains bibliographic information from an international selection of publications (including over 2800 journals) in the fields of economics, political science, sociology, and anthropology.
Bibliography of British and Irish History (BBIH) Provides bibliographic data on historical writing dealing with the British Isles, and with the British Empire and Commonwealth, during all periods for which written documentation is available – from 55 B.C. to the present. It lists books, articles in books and articles in journals, from over 750 journals and series. Produced by the Royal Historical Society, the Institute of Historical Research and Brepols Publishers.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Contains over 59,000 biographies with over 11,000 images. It allows browsing and free-text searching, as well as searches by subject, contributor, artist (for images), etc.
Updated: three times per year
American National Biography Contains over 18,700 entries with 2,500 illustrations and 80,000 hyperlinked cross-references, it is updated quarterly and links to selected websites. It is searchable by subject name, gender, birth and death dates, place of birth, and occupation.
History & Policy An online collection of papers (and an associated seminar series) organised by the Centre for Contemporary British History, University of London, the Centre for History in Public Health, University of London and the Faculty of History, University of Cambridge.
For information on searching websites see eGuide: Effective internet searching.
An introduction to using the web, aimed specifically at history students, is available from the Virtual Training Suite. It includes useful links (on subjects ranging from Anglo-Saxon England to the Women’s History Network) plus strategies for successful online research.
One of the easiest ways to discover information of academic value on the internet is to use one of the many subject-related gateways. Below are some you might like to try:
- Institute of Historical Research
- British History Online (for both primary and secondary sources)
- Perseus Digital Library – a collection of ancient history source materials and secondary literature, hosted by Tufts University, and expanding to include early modern history.
- Cambridge Companions Complete Collection
- Cambridge Histories Online
- Historical Abstracts
- Other Electronic resources for history