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World History (generally): Reference Sources

Reference Sources for World History (generally)

An encyclopedia article or dictionary entry can give you a broad overview of your topic.
Articles like these can help you to identify key concepts, to define key terms, and to discover who has done important work on your topic. They often also include bibliographies to guide your further reading.

Berkshire encyclopedia of world history
Great Barrington, MA: Berkshire Pub. Group, 2005.
- Ref D23 .B45 2005, v.1-5

Dictionary of world history
[online resource; UCSB IP addresses only]
Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

The Encyclopedia of world history: ancient, medieval, and modern, chronologically arranged. 6th ed. 
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001.
- Ref D21 .E578 2001

The Greenwood encyclopedia of daily life: a tour through history from ancient times to the present
Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2004.
- Ref GT31 .G74 2004, v.1-6

▪ See also the Greenwood Press "Daily life through history" series … which includes such titles as Daily life in Elizabethan England (2010), Daily life in the medieval Islamic world (2005), and Daily life in ancient Mesopotamia (1998). 

▪ Search the Library Catalog portion of UCSB Library Search for "Daily life through history" as an Exact Phrase in Any Field.

New dictionary of the history of ideas
New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2005.
- Main Library CB9 .N49 2005, v.1-6
- A survey of contemporary intellectual thought covering key ideas in the humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences.

The Oxford handbook of world history.
Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
- Main Library D20 .O94 2011

Oxford Reference Online
[online resource; UCSB IP addresses only]
- Under the Subject tab of Oxford Reference Online, click History.
- A collection of over 100 language and subject dictionaries and reference works from Oxford University Press, including:

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt.
The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures.
An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age.
The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science.
The Oxford Companion to World War II.


Additional Reference Sources for World History (generally):

Additional encyclopedias are listed on the United States History research guide, under the "Reference Sources" → "Encyclopedias & Dictionaries" tab.

Additional encyclopedias are listed on the World History by Period research guide, under the "Prehistory & Ancient" tab, the "Medieval History" tab, etc.

Additional encyclopedias are listed on the World History by Region research guide, under the "Africa" tab, the "Asia" tab, etc. 

Additional encyclopedias are listed on the World History by Topic research guide, under the "Commerce, Commodities & Material Culture" tab, the "Empires, Borderlands & their Legacies" tab, etc.


See also the "Historical dictionaries of ancient civilizations and historical eras" series of books … which includes such titles as Historical dictionary of medieval Russia (2002) and Historical dictionary of the Mongol world empire (2003).

Search the Library Catalog portion of UCSB Library Search for "Historical dictionaries of ancient civilizations and historical eras" as an Exact Phrase in Any Field.


See also the "Historical dictionaries of people and cultures" series of books … which includes such titles as Historical dictionary of the Kurds (2011) and Historical dictionary of Gypsies (Romanies) (2007).

Search the Library Catalog portion of UCSB Library Search for "Historical dictionaries of people and cultures" as an Exact Phrase in Any Field.


See also the "Historical dictionaries of religions, philosophies, and movements" series of books … which includes such titles as Historical dictionary of Islam (2009) and Historical dictionary of Marxism (2007). 

Search the Library Catalog portion of UCSB Library Search for "Historical dictionaries of religions, philosophies, and movements" as an Exact Phrase in Any Field.


See also the Blackwell Companions to ... History series: 

Do an Advanced Search in Library Catalog portion of UCSB Library Search for Any field - contains Blackwell Companions to History to find such titles as A companion to Mediterranean history (Blackwell Companions to European History) (2014),  A companion to Tudor Britain (Blackwell Companions to British History) (2004), and A companion to Chinese history (Blackwell Companions to World History) (2017).


How to Find History Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, Handbooks and more in the UCSB Library:

To find encyclopedias (or dictionaries, handbooks, etc.) in the UCSB Library using UCSB Library Search, do an Advanced Search and change the search from "Articles, Books and More" to "Library Catalog" before searching. 

   

In the top line of the search box, type in a word or phrase that represents the general topic of the encyclopedia you wish to find - here, we are searching for an encyclopedia that covers the Arab-Israeli conflict - and then type the word "encyclopedia*" into the second search line.

Change the drop-down box on the second search line from "Any field" to "Subject."


You can also find a list of online encyclopedias, by title, under the Articles & Databases tab on the UCSB Library home page.

   

 

Broad, comprehensive Histories, from respected publishers, are often good places to begin your reading.
Chronologies place persons and events in their historical context.

Histories

The Cambridge ancient history. 3rd ed. 
Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1970.
- Main Library D57 .C17 1970, v.1-14
- Contents: v. 1, pt. 1. Prolegomena and prehistory -- v. 1, pt. 2. Early history of the Middle East -- v. 2, pt. 2. History of the Middle East and the Aegean region, c. 1380-1000 B.C. -- v. 3, pt. 1. The Prehistory of the Balkans; and the Middle East and the Aegean World, tenth to eighth centuries B.C. 2d ed -- v. 3, pt. 2. The Assyrian and Babylonian empires and other states of the Near East, from the eighth to the sixth centuries B.C -- v. 3, pt. 3. The Expansion of the Greek World, eighth to sixth centuries B.C. --v. 4. Persia, Greece, and the western Mediterranean, c. 525 to 479 B.C. 2nd ed -- v. 5. The Fifth century B.C. -- v. 6. The Fourth century B.C. 2nd ed -- v. 7, pt. 1. The Hellenistic world 2nd ed -- v. 7, pt. 2. The Rise of Rome to 220 B.C. 2nd ed. -- v. 8. Rome and the Mediterranean to 133 B.C. 2nd ed. -- v. 9. The Last Age of the Roman Republic, 146-43 B.C. 2nd ed. -- v. 10. The Augustine Empire, 43 B.C.-A.D. 69. 2nd. ed.-- v. 11. The High empire, A.D.70-192 -- v. 12. The Crisis of empire, A.D. 193-337 -- v. 13. The late empire, A.D.337-425 -- v. 14. Late antiquity: Empire and successors, A.D. 425-600.

The Cambridge medieval history
Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1929-1967.
- Main Library D117 .C17 1929-1967, v.1-8
- Contents: I. The Christian Roman empire and the foundation of the Teutonic kingdoms -- II. The rise of Saracens and the foundation of the Western empire -- III. Germany and the Western empire -- IV. The Eastern Roman empire (717-1453) -- V. Contest of empire and papacy -- VI. Victory of the papacy -- VII. Decline of empire and papacy.--VIII. The close of the middle ages.

The New Cambridge medieval history
Cambridge, England; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995-
- Ref D117 .N48 1995, v.1-7
- Contents: V.1. c.500-c.700 -- v.2. c. 700-c. 900 -- v.3. c.900-c.1024 -- v.4. c.1024-c.1198.(2 v.) -- v.5. c1198-c.1300 -- v.6. c.1300-c.1415 -- v.7. c. 1415-c. 1500.

The Cambridge modern history
Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1934.
- Main Library D208 .C3 1934, v.1-13
- Contents: I. The renaissance.--II. The reformation.--III. The wars of religion.--IV. The thirty years' war.--V. The age of Louis XIV.--VI. The eighteenth century.--VIII. The French revolution.--IX. Napoleon.--X. The restoration.--XI. The growth of nationalities.--XIII. The latest age.--XIII. Genealogical tables and lists and general index.

The New Cambridge modern history
Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1957-
- Main Library D208 .N5 1957-79, v.1-14
- Contents: v. 1. The Renaissance, 1493-1520, edited by G. R. Potter.--v. 2. The Reformation, 1520-1559, edited by G. R. Elton.--v. 3. The counter-reformation and price revolution, 1559-1610, edited by R. B. Wernham.--v. 4. The decline of Spain and the Thirty Years War, 1609-48/59, edited by J. P. Cooper.--v. 5. The ascendancy of France, 1648-88, edited by F. L. Carsten.--v. 6. The rise of Great Britain and Russia, 1688-1715/25, edited by J. S. Bromley.--v. 7. The old regime, 1713-63, edited by J. O. Lindsay.--v. 8. The American and French Revolutions, 1763-93, edited by A. Goodwin.--v. 9. War and peace in an age of upheaval, 1793-1830, edited by C. W. Crawley.--v. 10. The zenith of European power, 1830-70, edited by J. P. T. Bury.--v. 11. Material progress and world-wide problems, 1870-1898, edited by F. H. Hinsley.--v. 12. The era of violence, 1898-1945, edited by David Thomson.--v. 13. Companion volume, edited by P. Burke.--v. 14. Atlas, edited by H. C. Darby and Harold Fullard.

Roach, John. A bibliography of modern history
London: Cambridge University Press, 1968.
- Main Library D208 .R55 1968
- Use this bibliography with the New Cambridge modern history.


See also the "New Oxford world history" series of books … which includes such titles as Central Asia in world history (2011) and Technology: a world history (2009).

Search the Library Catalog portion of UCSB Library Search for "New Oxford world history" as an Exact Phrase in Any Field.


Chronologies

Reingold, Edward M. Calendrical tabulations, 1900-2200
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
- Main Library CE12 .R46 2002

The chronology of world history
Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1999.
- Ref D11 .M39 1999, v.1-4

A dictionary of dates. 2nd ed. 
New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
- Ref D11.5 .B37 1997


How to Find Books on History:

To find books on history in the UCSB Library using UCSB Library Search, do an Advanced Search and change the search from "Articles, Books and More" to "Library Catalog" before searching. 

   

In the top line of the search box, type in a word or phrase that represents the topic of the history you wish to find - here, we are searching for a history of the Soviet Union - and then type the word "history" into the second search line.  Change the drop-down box on the second search line from "Any field" to "Subject."

Historical atlases help researchers see the geographical connections between peoples and events.
Gazetteers are dictionaries of place names and geographic features (such as rivers, lakes and mountains) that give the location of each entry.

The Times atlas of world history
London: Times Books, 1993.
- Sciences & Engineering G1030 .T54 1993b

Atlas of human migration
Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books, 2007.
- Main Library GN370 .A85 2007
- A chronological history of the migration of humans from prehistoric times onward.

An atlas of world affairs
New York: Routledge, 2007.
- Sciences & Engineering G1046.F6 B9 2007

Atlas of the world's religions. 2nd ed. 
New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
- Sciences & Engineering G1046.E4 A7 2007

Encyclopedia of historic places. Rev. ed. 
New York: Facts on File, 2007.
- Ref D9 .C29 2007, v.1-3
- Identifies and provides background information on cities, towns, districts, territories, and nations around the world.

Merriam-Webster's geographical dictionary
Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1997.
- Sciences & Engineering G103.5 .W42 1997


David Rumsey Map Collection
Private collection of more than 150,000 maps, primarily rare 18th and 19th century maps of North and South America, along with maps of the World, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania

Historical Map Archive
An online resource from the University of Alabama.

University of Texas at Austin. Perry-Castañeda Library Historical Maps
- See also the Perry-Castañeda Library's extensive list of Historical Map Web Sites, with links to individual maps online from sources other than the Perry-Castañeda Library.


How to Find Atlases & Gazetteers:

To find atlases or gazetteers in the UCSB Library using UCSB Library Search, do an Advanced Search and change the search from "Articles, Books and More" to "Library Catalog" before searching. 

   

In the top line of the search box, type in a word or phrase that represents the general topic of the encyclopedia you wish to find - here, we are searching for an encyclopedia that covers the Roman empire - and then type the word "atlas*" OR "maps" or any other word that represents the type of item you want into the second search line.  In this instance, DO NOT change the drop-down box on the second search line from "Any field" to "Subject"; you may want to find this facet of your topic in a title, or table of contents, or other part of the catalog record.

Biographical dictionary and encyclopedia entries can give you brief, authoritative information on the lives of individuals of note throughout history, as well as guidance for your further reading.

The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia. 2nd ed. 
New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
- Ref CT103 .C26 1998

Chambers Biographical Dictionary. 6th ed. 
Edinburgh: Chambers, 1997.
- Ref CT103 .C4 1997

Encyclopedia of World Biography
Detroit: Gale Research, 1998-2000.
- Ref CT103 .E56 1998, v.1-20 + suppl.

Merriam-Webster's Biographical Dictionary.  
Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1995.
- Ref CT103 .M47 1995


Moncure, James A. Research Guide to European Historical Biography, 1450-Present.
Washington, DC: Beacham Pub., 1992-
- Ref CT759 .R47 1992, v.1-8
- Contents: Volumes 1-4 cover explorers, monarchs, heads of state, diplomats, political and military leaders, and social reformers. Volumes 5-8 cover scientists, philosophers, political theorists, theologians, popes, artists, writers, and musicians.

Slocum, Robert B. Biographical Dictionaries and Related Works: an International Bibliography of Approximately 16,000 Collective Biographies ... 2nd ed.
Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1986.
- Ref Z5301 .S55 1986
- Contents: Vol 1. Universal biography; National or area biography -- vol 2. Biography by vocation.


How to Find Biographies:

To find biographies in the UCSB Library using UCSB Library Search, do an Advanced Search and change the search from "Articles, Books and More" to "Library Catalog" before searching. 

   

In the top lines of the search box, type in words or phrases that represents the general topic of the biography you wish to find - here, we are searching for biographies of U.S. presidents - and then type the word "biography" into the bottom search line.  Change the drop-down box on this search line from "Any field" to "Subject."


The search above looks only in the Subject part of the catalog record for our search words. But there are a variety of ways to search for biographies. For example:

Keyword: Babe Ruth AND Subject: biography
Keyword: Women AND politics AND biography

You can also search for biographies by Subject, without using the word "biography":
Subject: Nixon, Richard M

And you can find autobiographies with an Author search:
Author: Nixon, Richard M

Global Financial Data
Financial and economic data from the 1200s to present.

League of Nations. Statistical and Disarmament Documents
League of Nations publications from 1926-1944 digitized and made accessible by the Northwestern University Library.

Medieval and Early Modern Data Bank. (MEMDB) 
MEMDB's aim is to provide scholars with an expanding library of information in electronic format on the medieval and early modern periods of European history, circa 800-1815 C.E.

National Bureau of Economic Research. (NBER) Macrohistory Database
An extensive data set covering the pre-WWI and interwar economies, including production, construction, employment, money, prices, asset market transactions, foreign trade, and government activity. The main focus is the U.S. economy, although there is some coverage of the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

United Nations. Statistics Division. UNData
Demographic, economic, environmental and social data, from around the world.


Annuaire Europeen = European Yearbook
- Ref and Main Library JN3 .A5, v.1 (1955)-

Europa World Year Book
- Ref and Main Library JN3 .E8
- Political and economic information from more than 250 nations and territories.

International historical statistics: Africa, Asia & Oceania, 1750-2000
- Ref HA4675 .M552 2003

International historical statistics: Europe, 1750-2005
- Main Library HA1107 .M5 2007

International historical statistics: the Americas, 1750-2000
- Ref HA175 .M55 2003

World economic historical statistics
- Ref HA155 .S225 2005
- Sources of historical statistics.​


If you are looking for more sources for historical statistics, check out ...

PENN (University of Pennsylvania) Libraries. Historical Statistics - Research Guide
- A selective annotated bibliography of sources of U.S. and international historical statistics. 
- See also lists of resources found under the Public Opinion & Statistics tab and the American Government & Politics - Executive Departments & Agencies sub-tab in the UCSB Library Political Science subject guide

Barzun, Jacques. The Modern Researcher
Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2004.
- Main Library LB2369 .B28 2004

Berger, Stefan. Writing History. 3rd ed. 
London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020.
- Main Library D13.W75 W75 2020

Boyd, Kelly. Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing
Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1999.
- Ref D14 .E53 1999, v.1-2

Woolf, et al. The Oxford History of Historical Writing
New York: Oxford University Press, 2011-2012.
- Main Library D13 .O94 2011 
- v.1 Beginnings to AD 600; v. 2. 400-1400; v. 3. 1400-1800; v. 4. 1800-1945; v. 5. Historical writing since 1945.

Woolf, Daniel. A Concise History of History.
[online resource; UCSB IP addresses only]
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Kamp, Jeannette et al. Writing History! A companion for historians.
[online resource; UCSB IP addresses only]
Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018.


American Historical Association
The American Historical Association is the largest professional organization serving historians in all fields and all professions. The AHA has become a trusted voice for history education, the professional work of historians, and the critical role of historical thinking in public life.
▪ See especially the site's "Resource Guide for Graduate Students," "Resources for Early Career Professionals," and "Resources for Historical Researchers."


How to Find Historiography

To find books on historiography using UCSB Library Search, do an Advanced Search and change the search from "Articles, Books and More" to "Library Catalog" before searching.  Type "historiography" into the search box, and change the search from "Any field" to "Subject." 

  undefined  

You can add another Subject search line to focus your results. In this instance, we are searching for books on the historiography of World War 2.

The results you see will be books that have been identified as covering the subject: historiography.
 

Why Use Reference Sources?

Use Reference Sources to find background information on your topic, and to locate brief, authoritative information (such as dates or statistics).

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