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.
Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation. 1996. Covers all aspects of the social changes affecting Europe in the sixteenth century, including politics, economics, art and literature as well as church and theology.
New Catholic Encyclopedia. 2nd ed., 2003. Covers all aspects of the history, doctrine, and discipline of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Papacy: an Encyclopedia. 2nd ed. 2002. 3 bvolumes. Covers topics as well as personalities related to the history of the papacy. Available in hard copy in Alderman Library Reference Room, call # BX 955.2 .D53 2002.
Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages 2001. Concise and detailed articles on all aspects of the period from the fifth to the fifteenth century.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The premiere source for biographical information and historiography on prominent figures in British history. IMPORTANT: Our access is limited. Please click the Logout link when done.
Encyclopaedia Judaica. 2nd. ed. 2007. Comprehensive encyclopedia on all aspects of Jewish life, culture, history, and religion.
Encyclopaedia of Islam (Use second edition, the third is still in progress). Comprehensive encyclopedia of Islamic religion and of the culture and history of the Islamic regions.
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., Inquisition [other other topic keyword like "French Wars of Religion"] 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 "Subject" when searching for terms like Inquisition--will reveal different subdivisions--like Italy or Spain.
Google Books Searches the full text of thousands of books. If used in conjunction with Amazon.com full text search of a book, can most of the text of a title for terms of interest and preview quite a few pages. Printing not an option.
Early English Books Online (EEBO) Every significant work published in English from 1475 to 1700. Searchable text and page images. Early English Books includes translations of works from the European continent and commentaries upon continental events. (See for example, Martin Luther's The chiefe and pryncypall articles of the Christen faythe to holde againste the Pope, published in 1548.)
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.)
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: Ha?sburgs (for Habsburgs or Hapsburgs)
Or truncate: Calvinis* to search for Calvinism, Calvinist(s)
Limit search to a specific time period- Search: Inquisition AND heresy
Historical Period from 1517 CE to 1650 CE
ATLA Religion Database -- The ATLA database is the most comprehensive collection of scholarly literature related to religious topics, especially theology. Can use wildcard or truncate similar to Historical Abstracts, but there is no way to limit to historical period except by keyword search (ex., monasticism and Reformation).
International Medieval Bibliography Citations for articles, books and essays in books on any topic relating to the European Middle Ages (ca. 400-1500). Click the blue Enter Databases button to start and choose Medieval Bibliography from the menu on the next page.
ITER Bibliography Citations to books, essays in books and journal articles on all topics for the Middle Ages and Renaissance (ca. 400-1700). Can sort results by publication type, broad date range, subject or geographical area. Will need to look up citations in VIRGO or Google Scholar to get to full text.
JSTOR Full-text backfiles of many important scholarly journals. Coverage is usually from the first issue to 3-5 years before the present.
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.
RAMBI, the Index of Articles on Jewish Studies -- The RAMBI database covers all fields of Jewish studies. "Search options" explains how to use RAMBI, while "RAMBI Web" links to the search interface.
Index Islamicus (permanent URL not available) Search for articles about Islam and the Muslim world (coverage is not limited to Medieval/Early Modern period). Also includes reviews.
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).
Use Worldcat to identify other libraries which should have your book. (Best to stay on UVa Worldcat).
Also, don't forget to Recall items that have been checked out in VIRGO. The borrower of the item has 10 days to return it or have his/her borrowing privileges blocked. (You can also request the title through ILL should recall prove to be a delay.)
EuroDocs: Online Sources for European History --"Transcriptions, Facsimiles, and Translations" of documents from all periods of European history. Organized by broad time period and by country. compiled by Brigham Young University Libraries.
Reformation Europe -- Collection of documents related to many aspects of the Reformation-era--especially sermons and writings of reformers and counter-reformers and offocial church documents (council decisions, prayer books, decrees). Compiled by Fordham University's Internet History Sourcebooks Project.
Radical Reformation/Anabaptist Studies -- Research guide from Baylor University Libraries including links to confessions of faith, and the Complete Works of Menno Simons, founder of the Mennonites (1871 ed. in Menno Simons Net).