Research Guide: Y13 Reading the World

Welcome to the Library: An Overview of Library Resources

Use the links below to get an overview of resources for your project, both inside and outside the library. If you have questions about any of these resources, please stop by the library or email Mrs Rous. Happy researching!

The Shrewsbury Library

Websites and Archival Resources Outside the Library

Google Advanced Search

Using Wikipedia Wisely



Start here!

The library blog has up-to-date information about the library, as well as links to the online catalogue, and other online resources, like World Book Online and a variety of magazines.

The Library Catalogue:

You should already be familiar with the library catalogue. This is the best place to search for books and periodicals in the library’s collection. If you need help finding a particular book, or books on a particular subject, please see Mrs Rous or the on-duty library assistant in the Senior Library.

Some useful call numbers as you start your search:

  • NF 959.3 and TC 959.3: History of Thailand and Bangkok
  • NF 973: History of America

Online Library Resources:

Please click here for usernames and passwords for all online library resources. 

The library has a number of online subscriptions to magazines. The Economist may be useful for gathering information about contemporary Bangkok; E Magazine   and 20th Century History Review  may be useful for more literary and historical questions. The New York Times has a full digital archive, which may also be helpful for you. There are several other publications available as well–those four are just a good place to start. Please remember to log out when you use these resources, as only one person can use them at a time.


American Memory:

This collection from the Library of Congress showcases primary sources: pictures, maps, and other documents from throughout American history. These items can help you develop a richer sense of what life was like in New York City in the 1920s. Please see Ms Beeman if you want guidance on how to effectively search the collection.

Digital Public Library of America:

This site gives you access to archival materials from several major American libraries and museums. The timeline search option would be especially useful for this project. It can be a little unwieldy, so feel free to ask for help if you need it!

Making of America:

More primary sources from American social history! This is a collection from the University of Michigan, and it has a particularly strong collection of items from and about New York City.


Try the Advanced Search!

Using the Advanced Search, you can quickly and easily limit the parameters of your search. For example, you can choose to limit the dates of your search, the types of website to search (.edu vs .org vs .com, or just look at results from one site), the file format of your results (.pdf, .doc., etc), the language(s) of your results, and more.

Some useful operators and other search tips

Boolean operators: OR is the most useful, as AND is already assumed in Google searches. OR can be help you get a broader range of results. “New York Fashion Week 2012” OR “New York Fashion Week 2013” will deliver result with information about either year.

Quotes: Use quotes to search for an exact phrase, like “Do I dare to eat a peach?” This is especially helpful when looking for lyrics or lines from books and poems. It can also be helpful if you remember a phrase from a website or article, but can’t remember where to find it.

Exclude a word: Use the minus sign (-). This can be useful if you are looking for information about synonyms, like Garfield, the cartoon character, and Garfield, the American president. You could use “Garfield -cat” if you were looking for the president.

Related: If you find a website you like, and want to search more sites like it, try the related search. “” will give you other sites that deliver similar search results. It can be a helpful starting point in your research.

Define: Google will look definitions from different sites when you use this query. It can be useful for tough, specialized language used in academic papers. For example, “define:historicism”.

More information about limiting and refining your queries can be found here:


My five-second spiel: Wikipedia is not the enemy, but it is not the best tool for serious research. It can, however, be a good place to start if you need a general overview of a topic, and it may help you to identify topics that will be of interest to you in your research. Use the bibliography section at the bottom of an article as a starting point, as this can tell you where to begin the rest of your search. (The reference section generally includes information about books, websites, and articles that were used by the authors when writing the article.) Never (or rarely!) use Wikipedia as a source in your research unless there is a truly good reason.


What is JSTOR? JSTOR is a database that offers full-text articles from a variety of scholarly journals, some dating back to the mid-1800s. You can access it here:

Why use JSTOR? Articles from JSTOR come from established, vetted scholarly journals. The people who have written these articles are (by and large) specialists and experts in their fields. By closely reading these articles, or even just looking at the bibliographies of articles that interest you, you may get a better idea of what direction to go in with your own research, as well as a better idea of what scholars have already said about your topic.

How to use JSTOR effectively:

Make sure you have your login information! I have your login information, and your teachers should have it as well. Make sure your login works! If you have any questions, please see Mrs Rous or Mr Cheney.

Start with a broad search! Starting with a very narrow search (“Conditions for milkmaids on dairy farms in New York City in the 1920s”) for example, may not give you the results you want. There are many ways to refine a search if you get too many results, and I find it is often better to start with the most important words and phrases you want to research, rather than the narrowest. You can always limit your search, or search for results within your initial search, later.

Refine, refine, refine! Once you get back your search results, you will notice that there are several ways to refine your search: year of publication, type of article, subject(s) of the article and more. Use these! The subjects can be especially useful–if there’s one (or more than one) that comes quite close to what you are looking for. You can also search for words and phrases within your search results—another way to narrow effectively.

Save your articles! With your account, you have the ability to save articles and citations. You can email them to yourself or just save them in the account. Make sure to do this, even for articles you aren’t convinced you will end up using. JSTOR will also produce citations for you, saving you a crucial step when you are putting together your bibliographies.

Ask for help! Please come see Mrs Rous or Mr Cheney if you have any questions about JSTOR. Once you get used to searching for articles, you may find that some of the articles you want to use are filled with specialized jargon and difficult terminology. Again, just ask for help from the library or any of your teachers.

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