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Topical Guides: Humanities Research

Humanities Research > 2: Getting Started

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2A: Types of Resources

A portal or gateway site is the best place to begin research. These sites, which are intended to serve as "jumping off" points, will lead the researcher to a variety of useful sources that have been selected because of their relevance or quality. A portal site may include thousands of links on a wide range of topics, or may be very specific in scope and point to a small number of resources.

Portal sites may allow keyword searching, provide topical, hierarchical browsing (drilling down) or both search and browse capabilities. Another useful starting point for research is the search engine, particularly those that are subject-specific.

2B: Examples

Library of Congress

A major resource for nearly any topic related to the United States and its history and culture.

Wabash Center for Teaching & Learning in Theology and Religion

Search or browse an annotated guide to a wide variety of religious sources.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Search or browse for philosophy topics in this online encyclopedia. Content is updated regularly and you can sign up for an RSS feed to receive the newest information.

Discovering American Women’s History Online

Search and browse to find primary resources (photos, letters, etc.) about women's history in the U.S.

2C: How to Find More

The Internet Public Library Subject Collections (IPL)

Core internet resources are arranged by discipline and then by more specific subject area. An option is also available to find associations or serials related to the subject. These sites have been selected and organized by librarians. A link to pathfinders on very specific topics is also available.


Search multiple search engines at once, including Google and Yahoo!

Wikipedia: List of Academic Databases and Search Engines

See a list of speciality databases and search engines, including ones free to use. List is sortable by discipline and the cost to use.

The Internet Scout Report

A free weekly resource to learn about information resources for may subject areas. Sign up to get emails or visit their site, where you can also search or browse to see previous reports by subject areas.




What Shakespeare sites are recommended by The Internet Scout Reports?


Pop Quiz

Portal sites are useful for:

Correct answer: [NOTE: Score is not recorded]

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