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FYS: “A Pirate’s Life for Me:” Pirates, Piracy, and Southwestern

Library research tips for Professor Jessica Hower's FYS

Search Strategy: Use Keywords or Subject Headings

When searching for books and articles on topics for this course, think about keywords / synonyms related to the research question you are exploring. As a starting point, a comprehensive keyword search in WorldCat for pirates OR piracy, limited to Books, Non-Fiction, Non-Juvenile yields a long list of titles, with books in our library listed first. Look in the full record of a book to find more specific subject headings.

Here are a few subject terms to get you thinking:

pirates | piracy | women pirates  | hijacking of ships | maritime terrorism | pirate radio broadcasting | piracy (copyright) | sound recordings pirated editions

Start your search for books and more in WorldCat.

Search Tip

When you find a good book on your topic in WorldCat, use the "More like this" subject links to find additional books classified under the same heading. Subject headings are standardized tags that describe the content of an item. You can use these tags to find material on the same topic regardless of the words used in the material’s text.

Suggested Databases for Articles

Academic Search Complete is a comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database. Start your research for articles here!  Tip #1: When you view a full record for an article, read the abstract, or summary, to quickly decide if it is useful for your research.  Tip #2: Use the subject links from the full record to find additional articles.

JSTOR is a multi-disciplinary database which provides scholarly, full-text content. While coverage goes all the way back to the 19th century, be aware there is no current content for many journals. 

Full-text of hundreds of journals in the humanities, arts, and social sciences from scholarly publishers, providing full-text versions of scholarly journals from many of the world's leading university presses and scholarly societies.

A gateway to numerous Ebscohost online databases with abstracts and full-text articles from a wide variety of publications.

The core databases in the field of history are America: History and Life, which covers the history of the United States and Canada, and Historical Abstracts, which covers the history of the rest of the world.


Suggested Databases for Primary Sources

This resource brings together manuscript, printed and visual primary source materials for the study of 'Empire.' The materials span five centuries and are accompanied by secondary resources including scholarly essays, maps and an interactive chronology.

Includes many titles extending as far back as late 19th or early 20th centuries; also several 19th century pamphlet collections; does not include articles for the most recent 3-5 years.

Online resource of more than one million high-quality images in the arts, humanities, and sciences.

Wide range of full-text news (national and international newspapers, wire services, transcripts and newsletters) and business literature useful as primary sources when studying contemporary forms of piracy.


Finding Primary Source Books

To find books that contain significant amounts of primary source material construct a search adding one of the following terms to your basic subject: 

sources | letters | correspondence | diary | documents | interview | photographs | manuscript | speeches

Authoritative primary source websites

The web makes finding text or images from primary source materials for historical research much easier than it was in the past. The websites listed here provide access to a variety of primary sources from libraries, museums, and government agencies, and can be used for your assignment.

Piracy Trials | Law Library of Congress is a digitized historical collection of documents related to piracy trials, critical for understanding how the various nations of the world handled piracy issues before the year 1900. 

Library of Congress maintains a central search engine to explore all of its digitized collections, including American Memory, and other historical collections that contain material about pirates and piracy.

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers also from the Library of Congress, searches historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922.

Google Books is a great resource for finding primary source material from books that are in the public domain; that is, no longer under copyright protection. Use the Any Time Search Tool to limit by century, or to create a custom date search.

Hathi Trust Digital Library offers a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world, including many public domain titles that are available in full text.

Turabian (Chicago) Citation Style

Research isn't complete until you correctly cite all your sources. Provide a complete citation to credit the authors / creators of sources you used, and to let your paper's reader locate and verify these sources. Professor Hower requires you to use Turabian style for this course. 

Turabian Quick Guide covers the basics of Turabian formatting and style. For the most complete information, use the Manual, available in the Research Commons and on Reserve.