June 8, 2014
Ever wanted to do any research about anything that involves the United States and Canada? If so, you ought to know about EBSCOHost’s America: History and Life.
The portraits of Daniel Shays and Job Shattuck, leaders of Shay’s Rebellion. This rebellion was in response to economic trouble of the 1780s and is seen as a potential cause of the replacement of the Articles of Confederation with the United States Constitution.
Attention students and faculty in: African American Studies, Art History, Cultural Studies, Economics, Education, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Global Policy Studies, History, International Studies, Law & Society, Media Arts, Policy Studies, Political Science, Public Policy Studies, Social Services Administration,Women’s Studies
AND MORE (I’m sure I’m missing at something)
America: History and Life bills itself as “The Definitive Database for the Past and Present of The United States and Canada”. With full-text coverage of over 260 journals and 80 books, indexing and abstracting of thousands of additional titles- including english abstracts of foreign-language articles, book review, and detailed, searchable reference, you gotta admit they have a point.
The database will look very familiar to those who have used EBSCOHost databases in the past. A nice feature of EBSCOHost is that you can search multiple databases simultaneously. Depending on what you are searching for, America: History and Life would likely pair nicely with many other databases, including Academic Search Premier, Communication & Mass Media Complete, Environment Complete, Military & Government Collection, Newspaper Source, and World History Collection.
Canadian Women wearing plastic face protection from snowstorms in Montreal, 1939. While this image is of little historical significance to Canada, it sure looks cool.
Once you’ve selected the databases you want to search, I would go straight to the advanced search feature, where you can find material by Title, author, subject, or look for phrases within the abstract or the full text. Another wonderful feature of America: History and Life is the many ways to you can limit your search. A simple click, and you can make sure that everything your search returns is the full article or book. It’s just as easy to limit your search by publication year, type of material, (A book versus an article versus a book review, for example) make sure your results are peer-reviewed, or look for publications that include images or graphs.
One thing about America: History and Life that disappoints this reviewer is a lack of primary sources. The database focuses on scholarly material of the late 20th century. While it’s great to know your strengths,
even especially if you are a database- the researcher should keep in mind that resources you will find in America: History and Life are most likely secondary or tertiary, and will work best when combined with primary resources. Some places to look for great primary resources include:
The Chatham University Archives
The National Archives
The Library of Congress American Memory Project
EBSCOHost’s Newspaper Source
Fordham University Modern History Full Text Resources
Articles of (potential) interest from America:History and Life
Quigel, James P. “Steel and Steelworkers: Race and Class Struggle in Twentieth-Century Pittsburgh (Book).” Journal Of American History 90, no. 2 (September 2003): 729-731.
Smith, Michael B. 2001. “‘SILENCE, MISS CARSON!’ SCIENCE, GENDER, AND THE RECEPTION OF ‘SILENT SPRING’.” Feminist Studies 27, no. 3: 733.