Subject encyclopedias can provide detailed and authoritative background information that can help you to begin your research. The articles can define terms, give an overview of a topic and suggest directions for narrowing your research. They can also provide bibliographies of books and articles for more in-depth research.
Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. 2003. 3 volumes. Articles survey the history of food in different cultures, and the history of different foods, as well as broad themes like class. Alderman Library Reference Room. Call # GT
Keyword search should be "Google-like," just enter whatever terms you want; no need for connectors like and.
Will search the title, author's name or description of the item.
There are also some Subject keyword searches that will be helpful [Change drop-down menu to "Subject," will search only the subject headings that have been applied to the item]:
Ex., ("witchcraft Germany") sources
Other subject keywords also indicate primary source:
Early works to 1800
Notebooks, sketchbooks, etc.
Personal narratives (used in relation to specific events only)
Songs and music
Speeches, addresses, etc.*
*Used with individuals' names,classes of persons (e.g., soldiers), and organizations.
VIRGO Classic In Basic Search mode choose "Begins With" and then select "Title" when searching for a known item, or "Subject" when searching for terms like Body--will reveal related subject headings and different subdivisions--for example, Body and soul in art--early works to 1800.
Early English Books Online (EEBO) Every significant work published in English from 1475 to 1700. Searchable text and page images. Because of early modern variants in spelling, it may be easier to take advantage of the subject terms. Take advantage of the "Select from a List" options. (You can search within the list.) You can do the same thing for full text keywords, as well as search for variant spellings.)
Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) Searchable full text and page images for books, almanacs, broadsides, magazines, pamphlets, etc in any language from the British Isles and North America, and in English from the rest of the world, 1701-1800.
Journal Finder —Perhaps the Library’s best-kept secret. Type in the title of your journal to see which databases provide access to it in full text. (Access from the Library’s main page using the drop-down for “Also Try” beneath the VIRGO search box.) This and Google Scholar are the best ways to track down citations.
Historical Abstracts Find articles about the history of the world from 1450 to the present, published in over 2,000 journals from many countries. Includes book reviews. Does not include articles about the US or Canada. For these see America: History & Life.
Can use a wildcard to expand searches: wom?n (for woman or women)
Or truncate: diet* to search for diet or dietary
Limit search to a specific time period- Search: coffee
Historical Period from 1500 CE to 1600 CE
ATLA Religion Database -- The most comprehensive collection of scholarly literature related to religious topics. Can use wildcard or truncate similar to Historical Abstracts, but there is no way to limit to historical period except by keyword search (ex., domestic violence and early modern).
Project Muse Full-text articles from humanities and social science journals, in some ways updating content found in JSTOR. A good database for articles related to gender studies and social history.
Art Full Text Articles and art reproductions in all arts media from selected periodicals. Art Index Retro covers 1929-1984 and Art Index Full Text 1984-present. Abstracts are included from 1994 on; full-text of articles from some journals from 1997 on.
JSTOR Full-text backfiles of many important scholarly journals. Coverage is usually from the first issue to 3-5 years before the present.
MLA Bibliography Lists books plus articles and essays from journals and books on literature, linguistics, and folklore.
RAMBI, the Index of Articles on Jewish Studies -- Covers all fields of Jewish studies. "Search options" explains how to use RAMBI, while "RAMBI Web" links to the search interface.
SocIndex with Fulltext Can search by specific time periods as keywords (ex., Robbery AND Seventeenth Century).
Women's Studies International Find articles related to women's experience during all historical periods. Can use wildcard or truncate similar to Historical Abstracts, but there is no way to limit to historical period except by keyword search (ex., domestic violence and early modern).
Unavailable through VIRGO or unavailable in full-text via our article databases does not mean inaccessible or even seriously inconvenient. U.Va. Library has a great interlibrary loan service that should put the needed article in your inbox or the book in your hands within a few days of your requesting it.
Create an account with our Interlibrary Loan Department (log on as first-time user).