Library Resources for A&HH 6041 : Historical Method

| October 14, 2013

This research guide is an overview of library resources specifically prepared for Professor Cally White’s class: A&HH6041, Historical Methods. The guide describes resources available within TC, as well as an extended overview of digitally accessible archives in New York State and beyond.

Library catalogs


EDUCAT is the online library catalog at Teachers College. It shows all the books, journals, e-journals, e-books, media, and other resources available specifically at TC.

CLIO is the online catalog for all of the Columbia University libraries, excluding Teachers College, Columbia Law School, and Jewish Theological Seminary. If you cannot find resources on EDUCAT, then search for them in CLIO.

For both catalogs, if you already know the resource you want, you should search by title or author. If you do not know these, then a good option is to search by subject.


Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) are the official subject terms used in academic libraries in the United States. Some subject headings relevant to this course are listed below. Search for these under the “subject” tab in EDUCAT or by selecting “subject” in the drop-down menu in CLIO.

  • Education — United States — Historiography
  • Education — United States — History
  • Historiography
  • Historiography — History
  • History — Methodology
  • History — Philosophy
  • History — Research
  • History — Study and teaching
  • History–Study and teaching (Elementary)
  • History–Study and teaching (Secondary)
  • History — [time period, e.g. 20th century]
  • Paper — Preservation — United States
  • United States — Historiography
  • United States — History
  • Women — Education

For more details on how to find subject headings on your own and search with them, see this guide for searching by subject in EDUCAT.


The subject headings in the list above which include “Study and teaching” will lead you directly to curriculum materials, which are almost entirely located on the second floor reading room in the library. Using the term “study and teaching” differentiates books about a subject from books about how to teach a subject. For further tips, see this detailed overview of how to search for textbooks.

Periodical Indexes

Academic Search Premier – A multidisciplinary database providing full text for more than 4,600 journals, including nearly 3,900 peer-reviewed titles.  PDF backfiles to 1975 or further are available for well over one hundred journals.  See also Academic Search Complete, a scholarly, multidisciplinary full-text database, with more than 8,500 full-text periodicals, including more than 7,300 peer-reviewed journals.  The database features PDF content going back as far as 1887.

America:  History and Life – Index (with some abstracts) of literature covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present.

ERIC – Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education to provide extensive access to educational-related periodical literature, ERIC (which stands for Educational Resources Information Center) provides coverage of conferences, meetings, government documents, theses, dissertations, reports, audiovisual media, bibliographies, directories, books, and monographs.  In addition to this version, made available via the CSA Illumina platform, also accessible via the U.S. government ERIC site, through Ebsco ERIC, and via ProQuest ERIC on the Columbia University Libraries website.

Education Full Text – Provides comprehensive coverage of an international range of English-language periodicals, monographs, and yearbooks. Indexing coverage begins June 1983; abstracts are included beginning spring 1994; full text of some journals is available beginning in January 1996.

Education Index Retro – Provides cover-to-cover indexing for an international range of English-language periodicals and yearbooks; coverage from 1929 through mid-1983.

Education Research Complete – Provides indexing and abstracts for more than 2,100 journals, as well as full text for more than 1,200 journals, and includes full text for nearly 500 books and monographs.

Essay & General Literature Index – Indexes essays and articles contained in collections of essays and miscellaneous works published in the United States, Great Britain, and Canada; areas covered include the humanities and social sciences, with subject coverage ranging from economics, political science, and history to criticism of literary works, drama, and film.

Historical Abstracts – Provides citations and abstracts for publications related to world history, excluding the U.S. and Canada, from 1450 to the present.

Humanities and Social Sciences Retro – Provides coverage of journal articles in the humanities and social sciences from 1907 through 1984.

Humanities Full Text – Abstracts, bibliographic indexing, and full text from scholarly sources and specialized magazines in the humanities. Indexing begins in 1984, full-text coverage in 1995.

ProQuest – Provides broad multidisciplinary coverage of scholarly  journals, newspapers, dissertations, and other types of publications; for international coverage and access to full texts of dissertations only, search Digital Dissertations, a subset of ProQuest.

TC archives: PocketKnowledge


What kinds of items tend to be in pocket knowledge?

Pocket knowledge is the institutional repository for Teachers College, which holds papers, dissertations, and other works authored by TC faculty, staff, students, and alumni. It is also the digital archive of the library, which means it holds digitized items of historical value to TC and/or the education field.  This includes correspondence, photographs, manuscripts, diaries, and other items. For instance, the diaries of William Kilpatrick are in PocketKnowledge, as are Victor D’Amico’s architectural drawings and papers.

Who has access?
Teachers College and Columbia students, faculty, staff, and TC alumni.


First, you need an account to view files.

To open an account: you need to be a TC or Columbia student. Click “log in” and then “sign up” which will walk you through the steps.


To find items, you can enter search terms either in “pockets” or in “tags,” or, for the most exhaustive results, try “search all.” (To do this, click the advanced options, and select “all.”) To survey what collections exist in the database, click “search and browse all items” at the top of the screen, which will allow you to browse.


Items are stored in Pockets, which is a collection of items linked by a common topic; you may want to simply browse the pockets to see what types of collections we have. You can also browse tags, which are descriptors providing access points to individual items across the collections (ie pockets). Tags operate similarly to “subject terms” in EDUCAT or the “thesaurus” in an electronic database of articles. It’s handy to know which terms someone else used to describe an item because we all describe things differently.


There are many, but here is a small sampling:

Manuscript Group 1 (valuable education manuscripts circa 1682-1983 written by a host of famous historical figures)

Rothman Lantern Slide Collection (images from WW1)

Florence Nightingale Collection

Historic Portraits of TC Faculty Collection

Adelaide Nutting Historical Nursing Collection

Digital archives outside TC

There are numerous digital archives that you can visit online, many of which also offer teaching aids to help educators use their archive materials in your classroom. Whether you use their existing educational models or not, you can certainly generate ideas from their lesson plans, or simply develop your own using these fantastic digital archives.

Here is a list of local archives with digital collections, by region:


New York Historical Society Library (Coordinated with the NYS teaching standards, and include lesson plans)

National Archives Docs Teach (Ready-made lesson plans, collections by theme to build your own lesson plans around, and software that allows you to build a lesson plan online.)

National Archives at New York City Educational Materials (This is the local arm of the National Archives. View specific lesson plans and collections from the local branch here in NYC.)

New York City Department of Records Digital Collections (The Municipal Archives collects office records, manuscript material, still and moving images, ledger volumes, vital records, maps, blueprints, and sound recordings from the NYC municipal government starting in 1950 through the present. The digital archives makes available 870,000 items from their vast physical collection.)

Nueva York Classroom Materials (A guide to using the Nueva York exhibit from the New York Historical Society, which explores New York’s history with Spain and Latin America from 1613-1945.)

NYPL digital library (A fairly astonishing array of digitized collections from the NYPL.)

Museum of the City of New York Collections portal (The digital collection of the Museum of the City of New York, now containing over 100,000 images.)

American Museum of Natural History Library (670 linear feet of archival materials relating to anthropology and dating back to the 1890’s)


Brooklyn Historical Society Classroom Kits (Curriculum kits, curriculum guides, and downloadable lesson plans to the BHS’s exhibits, featuring their historical archives.)

Brooklyn Museum (A portal to the Brooklyn Museum digital collection, organized by type of art. They also feature an education link providing educational materials.)

Brooklyn Public Library Digital Collections (Digitized historical materials including photograph galleries, playbills, children’s books, and a guide to the civil war collection, which includes lesson plans.)

Library of Congress Digital Archives:

Library of Congress Digital Archives

Digital Collections:

American Memory homepage (There are many. Here is a link to browse all collections.)

Historic Newspapers

National Jukebox

Performing Arts Encyclopedia

Prints and Photographs

Veterans History Project


Each of the above collections offer ways to search by keyword or by subject term. Some of the collections offer advanced boolean search options while others do not. Note that each collection has its own guide for how to search it most efficiently. Once you are in a collection performing a search, you’re searching within that collection.

The collections are organized by Library of Congress Subject Headings. If you don’t already know which subject headings describe your topic, your best bet is to search by keywords. If you’re curious to know more, check out the resources below:

Classroom Materials at the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has developed a site specifically designed for teachers and devoted to classroom materials: The Library of Congress Teachers site.

This site offers a wealth of resources for teachers including ready-made lessons plans, presentations, activities, and primary resources grouped by theme. Here are links to a few useful features:

  1. See the guide to using primary source material in the classroom.
  2. Use their search to find curriculum materials by state, grade, and subject.
  3. Browse classroom materials by topic, era, or in alphabetical order.
  4. Check out the professional development resources.
  5. Get a grant to help support the use of primary resources in your classroom.

Using the Library of Congress Digital Archives Creatively

Teju Cole, author of OPEN CITY, has been using the Library of Congress Historical Newspaper Collection to create daily tweets reflecting accounts of murder and mayhem from exactly one hundred years ago. He collects these “news of the weird” tidbits on his Twitter feed.

PS: Cole’s book is available from Butler stacks: PR9387.9.C67 O64 2011



National Archives (NARA) :

The National Archives are quite simply “the nation’s record keeper.” They famously hold documents such as the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. (Those major documents are held at the DC branch—the MD office holds 2 million cubic feet of materials!) They also hold military records, immigration records, land records, the US census data, genealogical data, and more. The digital collections are a way for users around the country to access their materials from the comfort of the classroom.

DocsTeach is a new software developed by NARA specifically to assist social studies teachers in using these collections in their classroom. There are three ways to use this software:

  1. Explore their vast ready-made collections developed around time periods in our nation’s history and develop a plan on the fly or create a plan ahead of time in your own style.
  2. Use their ready-made lesson plans created around the above-mentioned collections. Within each collection there are a series of different lesson plan approaches, all developed by NARA.
  3. Use their software to place images you’ve stored in folders into their lesson-plan templates. There are a variety of template styles for you to choose from. You need to set up an account with them to use this option.


What’s here: in an effort to “make history come alive” the NYHS offers curriculum related kits to help teachers use their digital collections in the classroom.  Staged as a series of exhibits, their lesson plans align with the New York State Learning Standards.

New York Divided: Slavery and the Civil War

Covers the contentious divide in NYS over slavery and the Civil War through images, documents, maps, letters, and text, with accompanying lesson plans designed using their materials. They provide an overall lesson plan by PDF, as well as lessons by unit.

For a structured approach: The exhibit is broken down in multiple ways, including sections on Pro-South NYFighting Slavery, and Civil War. These are structured narratives already put together by the NYH for you to share with your students.

For a less structured approach, they also break up the materials by peopleplaces, anddocuments, which each contain images and accompanying texts.

In their own words: “This is not the American history that our grandparents learned in school. Exciting new discoveries and new questions asked by recent generations of scholars have upended our understanding of the national past, including that of New York City and State,” says James O. Horton, the chief historian of the exhibition.

Alexander Hamilton

This is both an exhibition and a database of original documents (digitized, of course). This exhibition is an excellent example of a non-linear learning platform, where students can learn by seeing visual accompaniments to textual historical notes, but because the site guides its viewers through history through components one can click at will and in any order, it offers a model for a non-textbook approach for students who have trouble learning linearly.

The exhibit includes various approaches to understanding Hamilton:

There’s also a document database if you are looking for something specific and want to do a search. However, another way of approaching this collection is to scour through the entire contents, HERE.

And if all of this isn’t a tidy enough package, they have put together pdf documents with lesson plans specifically for teachers using this collection.