Sources for Research in British History

Library Catalogs

Reference Works and Guides

Electronic Indexes

Texts on the Web

I. Library Catalogs
Indiana University Libraries' catalog. Contains records for 85% of the IU Libraries' collections. Remember to check the card catalog for materials published before 1976, if they are not listed in IUCAT.

IUCAT Guides

Some possibly useful subject heading searches:
s=national characteristics british
s=national characteristics english
s=national characteristics scottish
s=celts--great britain
s=scotland--social life and customs
s=ireland--social life and customs

Database containing the combined online catalogs of most of the libraries in the US and a selection of European libraries. Especially helpful for locating manuscripts, archival materials , rare books in microform, and other formats that can be difficult to find. For older materials not in WorldCat, try its print counterparts, the National Union Catalog (located behind the card catalog) and the National Union Catalog for Manuscript Collections (located in the Reference Reading Room).

Search tips for WorldCat:
Use the Advanced Search option to limit searches by date and/or format
Leave out punctuation in subject heading searches (but not in title searches)

Similar to WorldCat, but includes different libraries, and offers different search options.

Center for Research Libraries (CRL) Catalog
The CRL is a repository for rare and obscure publications, especially journals and newspapers. Materials usually arrive very promptly through interlibrary loan and can be kept for at least a month.

English Short Title Catalog (ESTC)
Contains over 400,000 records for books and pamphlets published anywhere in Great Britain or its colonies or in English anywhere from 1473 through the end of 18th century. The vast majority of 18th-century materials found in ESTC are readily available, either at IU Bloomington or through interlibrary loan.

II. Reference Works and Guides
Bibliography of British history; the eighteenth century, 1714-1789. Edited by Stanley Pargellis and D. J. Medley. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1951. (Main Library Reference Reading Room, Z2019 .P2)

Bibliography of British history, 1789-1851. Edited by Lucy M. Brown and Ian R. Christie. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977. (Main Library Reference Reading Room, Z2019 .B76)

Bibliography of British history, 1851-1914. Compiled and edited by H. J. Hanham. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976. (Main Library Reference Reading Room, Z2019 .H35)

Catalogue of political and personal satires preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum. London : Published for the Trustees of the British Museum by British Museum Publications, 1978. (Main Library, Microforms, NE55.L7 A37 1984)

Dictionary of national biography. London: Oxford University Press, [1949-1950]. (Main Library Reference Reading Room, CT773 .D51. See Biographical Research for more biographical sources.)

An encyclopaedia of parliament. Norman Wilding and Philip Laundy. London: Cassell, 1972. (Main Library Reference Reading Room, JN555 .W67 1972)

Encyclopedia of romanticism : culture in Britain, 1780s-1830s. Edited by Laura Dabundo. New York: Garland Pub., 1992. (Main Library Reference Reading Room, DA529 .E53 1992)

Spartacus Internet Encyclopedia: British History, 1700-1950
Produced by the British Virtual Teacher Centre.

Victorian Britain: an encyclopedia. Edited by Sally Mitchell. New York: Garland Pub., 1988. (Main Library Reference Reading Room, DA550 .V53 1988)

The Victorian Web
A web-based encyclopedia of the Victorian period, by George P. Landow, Brown University

Voice of the Shuttle: History: U.K.
A web guide, by Alan Liu, University of California, Santa Barbara.

III. Electronic Indexes
Internet Library of Early Journals
Digitized page images and searchable full text of 6 key British journals from the 18th and 19th centuries. (Primary sources; citations and full text)

Periodicals Contents Index (PCI)
Searchable index of nearly 2,500 scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences, from their first issues (the earliest is 1780) through 1990/1991. It includes an entry for each article or book review appearing on the table of contents page of each issue. (Primary and secondary sources; citations only)

Poole's Plus
Electronic version of William Frederick Poole's Index to Periodical Literature. Very little overlap with PCI: publications covered are generally less academic, more popular in nature. (Primary sources; citations only)

Historical Newspapers Online
Electronic index to the New York Times, 1851-1923 and the London Times, 1790-1945. (Primary sources; citations only)

Historical Abstracts
Index to articles from about 2,000 journals; includes some books and dissertations. (Secondary sources; citations and 75-100 word abstracts)

A journal-digitizing project that contains searchable fulltext from important scholarly journals in history from their first issues to the early 90s. (Mostly secondary sources; citations and full text)

IU Bloomington Libraries' Databases page
Other electronic indexes of possible interest include Religion Database and MLA Bibliography (language and literature).

IV. Texts on the Web
Locating Online Fulltext Journals and Newspapers
A searchable list of all the electronic journals subscribed to by the IU Libraries

Electronic Texts from the WWW Virtual Library: History

Links to collections of digitized primary sources.

The Complete Works of Jane Austen

Eighteenth-Century Fiction

Works of 30 major 18th-century writers

English Poetry Database

Searchable database of over 165,920 poems, up to ca. 1900.

English Verse Drama, 1500-1900

Past Master's British Philosophers

Works of Hume, Locke, Mill and others

Victorian Women Writers

Anthologies, novels, political pamphlets, and volumes of poetry and verse drama by British women.
June 20, 2000

Celestina Wroth (
Librarian for History, Religious Studies,
and History & Philosophy of Science
Main Library E560, Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47405, (812) 855-1336