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Stony Brook University

HIS 396 – End of the Century: America Since 1970

Reference Librarian

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Reference Librarian
Central Reading Room

Frank Melville Jr., Memorial Library C-1600


Newspaper Databases

With the exception of the Historical New York Times, most newspapers and popular magazines available online from Stony Brook Libraries only go back to the early 1980s. If you need articles from before that time period, consult How to Use Print and Microforms.

Using the Library Catalog

From the library homepage, click on Library Catalog (STARS)

Start with a KEYWORDS ANYWHERE search on your topic.

When you find a book that looks good, scroll down to the bottom of the screen, and you’ll see the Library of Congress SUBJECT HEADINGS.

You can click on these links to find more books on that subject.  You can also use these subject headings when searching databases.

When you are familiar with some of the subject headings for your topic, try a SUBJECT KEYWORDS search.  You will get fewer results but they should be better ones.

FOR PRIMARY SOURCES, use the following terms in KEYWORD or SUBJECT searches: sources, correspondence, diaries and biography (includes memoirs), personal narratives.

JOURNAL CATALOG: Use this first when searching for a newspaper or magazine title.  It gives ALL formats of the journal, including online, print and microforms.

GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS: Use STARS Advanced Search - “Location” field for Gov Docs.

WORLDCAT: (DATABASES - W). Holdings for most libraries in the U.S. & Canada, and some overseas. Stony Brook holdings are indicated. Material we don’t own you can order via ILL. WorldCat lets you see what has been published in your subject area, and how the titles are being classified.

Searching for Scholarly Articles

Stony Brook Libraries have over 300 databases and digital collections.  Locate databases by clicking on DATABAES A-Z on the library homepage.

You can then look for databases by SUBJECT or by TITLE:

  • 1) Select a Subject – From the dropdown menu, choose History.  This will give you a list of databases and digital collections that should be useful in the subject area.
  • 2) Search by Title – Click on the letter of the alphabet.  Example: click on “J” for JSTOR.

Some useful scholarly databases:

Other Databases

You can also try databases in other subject areas, depending on your topic.  Use the Browse By Subject drop-down menu under DATABASES A-Z.

Other Databases that Include Schoarly Articles:

  • Business Source Complete
  • GenderWatch
  • Gender Studies
  • Humanities International
  • MLA International Bibliography
  • ProQuest Platinum
  • RILM (for music)
  • SocINDEX w/ Full Text

Using Primary Sources

Primary source is a term used in a number of disciplines to describe source material that is closest to the person, information, period, or idea being studied.

In historiography, a primary source (also called original source) is a document, recording, artifact, or other source of information that was created at the time under study, usually by a source with direct personal knowledge of the events being described. It serves as an original source of information about the topic.

Primary sources are distinguished from secondary sources, which cite, comment on, or build upon primary sources, though the distinction is not a sharp one. "Primary" and "secondary" are relative terms, with sources judged primary or secondary according to specific historical contexts and what is being studied. [From Wikipedia.]

Primary Sources - Databases

Primary Sources - Internet

Primary Sources are increasingly being digitized by universities and libraries.

Try a Google or Yahoo ADVANCED SEARCH.  Put .edu or .gov in the DOMAIN search box, along with your other search terms.

Some useful websites:

How to Use Print & Microforms

Most newspapers and popular magazines available online only go back to the early 1980s.  To find material from before that time period, you will need to consult:

Print versions of Newspaper Indexes. Located in the Central Reading Room. Indexes covering the 1970s: New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and The Times.

For popular MAGAZINES, such as Time, Newsweek, and Good Housekeeping, use Readers' Guide to Periodical LiteratureCRR Reference-Encyclopedias-AI3.R48 (1900 - )

Most older magazines will be available in microforms, or in bound print volumes in the Main Stacks.

You will need the name of the magazine and date of the article. Use the JOURNAL CATALOG in STARS to search for the magazine by title.  When you find it, check the SUMMARY HOLDINGS and HOLDINGS LOCATION for the location and format of the newspaper/magazine for your specific date. 

EXAMPLE: If you are looking for an article from Time magazine for 1974, search for Time in the journal catalog. You will see that 1974 is available in print in the Main Stacks, call number AP2 .T37 OVERSIZE x, and in the microforms collection in the Central Reading room on Microfiche A380.

Primary Sources - Microforms

Search for material via STARS. 

Jon Hufford’s guide to the collection, MICROFORMS HOLDINGS, A SELECT LIST (2nd edition, 1990), is available online under E-Books & Texts.

Underground Newspaper Collection (Microfilm A178) - Includes hundreds of underground newspapers from the United States and abroad. Coverage is from 1963 to 1985.

***Index to Underground Newspaper Collection: Central Reading Room Microforms Library Z6944.U5 B4 – This only tells you which newspaper is located on which roll of microfilm.

*** Alternative Press Index (PRINT VERSION): Main Library Stacks AI3 .A4 – Index of articles in underground newspapers.  It doesn’t start until 1969.  Available 1991-present in DATABASES A-Z.

Herstory (Microfilm A312) – A.K.A. “Women's History Library;" "International Women's History Periodical Archive". Collection assembled at the Women's History Research Center in Berkeley. For 1970s.

Multimedia Sources

The Sex Pistols and the punk rock movement impacted more than just music in the late 1970s.  Here, they are performing "Anarchy in the U.K."