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Civil War America, 1848-1877

A study of the United States from the end of the war with Mexico to the end of Reconstruction with emphasis on the coming and course of the Civil War and the reunion of the nation at the war’s end.

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Google Scholar Search

Evaluating Websites

Need to figure out if a website is offering scholarly, quality information?
Follow the 5 W's:
Who is responsible for the creation of the site?  Do they have listed credentials? Are they associated with a reputable institution?  Can you contact them?
What is the purpose of this site?  What is the URL of the site and what might that tell you about its purpose?  What aspects of the site make it difficult/easy to use? (For example: typos, easy navigation, nice layout, images, too much advertising, etc.)
Where is this information coming from?  Is there a bibliography or listed references?  Is the site listed with an established institution?
When was the site last updated?  Does the site even have a date?  Does the currency of the information directly impact your subject?
Why is this website useful for your research?  Is it necessary for your research or could you find the information through a better source?

Always evaluate your sources - what Google considers to be scholarly may not be considered scholarly by your professor.

Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources

Locating Primary Sources in Catalogs and Databases

It is possible to locate some primary source materials that have been cataloged in library catalogs or indexed in databases.  Using some key subheadings will help in this process. One such subheading is "Sources."  Examples of subject headings that include this subheading are:

   United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Sources

   African Americans--History--19th century--Sources

Other common primary source subheadings are "Personal narratives" and "Correspondence."  Some examples of these might be:

   Dakota Indians--Wars, 1862-1865--Personal narratives


Still other subheadings are:



   Caricatures and cartoons


   Description and travel







   Pictorial works


   Public opinion



For more information on the use of these subheadings for locating primary source material, consult the document linked below.