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ENWR 1510: Writing about the Arts

Sarah O'Brien · Fall 2017

This guide lists just a few of the library resources you can use to research the historical context of the news clips you will find in the WSLS-TV (Roanoke, VA) News Film Collection and the Vanderbilt Television News Archive. If you have trouble finding what you need, don't hesitate to get in touch!

General research tips

  • Fine-tune your search using
    • Filters or facets: allow you to narrow your results by source, subject, date range, etc.  
    • Wildcards: in many search engines, the asterisk is a truncation symbol that will match all possible endings for a word stem; i.e. histor* will match history, historical, historicism, historiography, etc.
    • Booleans: combine search terms using AND (gender AND identity), OR (black OR african american) and NOT (nixon NOT watergate).
  • When you find a good source, use it to find other good sources.  Use the subject terms and keywords associated with an item to find other items on the same topic.  Scholarly books and articles will have bibliographies and footnotes that you can mine for additional resources.

Using the library catalog

VIRGO, the U.Va. Library’s primary search tool, contains catalog records for books, print journals, DVDs, maps, and digitized materials, as well as links to online articles from our rich array of subscription journals.  You can search catalog materials and articles together, or view those results separately, using the "facets" provided to limit your results by author, format, publication period, and more.  

Researching historical events in 20th century America

U.S History in Context is a collection of articles from over 200 journals and several hundred historical encyclopedias covering the social and political history of the U.S. Some primary source material also included. An excellent resource for getting an overview of a topic or issue.

ProQuest Historical Newspapers provides full text articles from major US newspapers, including the New York Times (1851-2004) and Washington Post (1877-1991), as well as African-American newspapers such as the Chicago Defender (1910-1975) and the New York Amsterdam News (1922-1993).  

Access World News contains a number of regional and local newspapers, including the Richmond Times Dispatch from 1903 to the present, which will give you additional context on historical events from within the state of Virginia.   

Finding scholarly journal articles

Academic Search Complete is a very large interdisciplinary database of articles from scholarly and popular journals, as well as some newspaper content.  Academic Search Complete contains several subject-specific databases within it, including:

  • America: History & Life: covers the history of the United States and Canada from prehistory to present with records from 2,000 English-language journals published worldwide. Includes book reviews.
  • Communication & Mass Media Complete: a database of journal articles about popular media.  You can use this database to zero in on articles specifically about journalism and television news.  

JSTOR contains back issues (usually 3-5 years old or older) of significant scholarly journals in many subjects, including history and media.  It will give you more focused results than Academic Search Complete.  Articles are immediately available as PDFs.

Citing your sources

The Chicago Manual of Style provides detailed instructions for using the Chicago style and citation format. 

Purdue OWL: Chicago Manual of Style 16th Edition provides basic information on using Chicago style in research papers, including notes and bibliographies.

You can cite clips from the television news archives according to this example:

"Man Injured in Shooting in Roanoke, Va.”  WSLS-TV News Film Collection. Aired April 13, 1951.

Refworks is a web-based tool that lets you collect citations in electronic folders and then use them to generate annotations and bibliographies in the citation style of your choice. The RefWorks website provides resources for learning how to use RefWorks and Write N Cite, a plug-in that lets you format citations within Microsoft Word.