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Detail from image of Clifton in Ward and Lock's historical handbook

Finding resources

As part of your studies you will need to access a wide range of material to support your learning.  In this section you will discover how you can access primary sources, academic literature, and media sources.

Primary sources

Academic literature

Media and film

Finding specific resources

You can find specific resources using Library Search. For many resources, such as books, you can find them by searching for the author's surname (family name) and a few key words from the title using the basic search function.

For journal articles and book chapters, you may need to search for the journal or main book title if searching for the article or chapter details does not bring up the material you need.

The Library Search help page gives more advice on effective searching.


Finding resources on a topic

When working on assignments, it is likely you will need to look beyond your unit reading list for information on your topic.

  • Use Library Search by using keywords relevant to your topic.  In Library Search you will find a range of resources, including books, journal articles, audio materials and video.
  • Use subject databases to carry out thorough searches on your topic.
What is a database?

If you want to do a thorough search of the literature on a topic, the best way to do this is to use a database.

A database indexes journals and other sources of information, meaning you may search across all these indexed sources at once.

There are two main types of database used in history:

  • Primary source databases - These include digitised versions of primary source documents, manuscripts, literature, artworks, media and more.
  • Academic databases - These enable you to search indexed academic literature to find journal articles and book chapters.

To make sure you use databases to their full potential, book onto one of our sessions on Finding Literature for your Essay, or get in touch with your subject librarian.

Library Search

Search books, journal articles and more provided by the University of Bristol Library

Library Search tutorial

Successful searching with Library Search

A self-help tutorial on using Library Search effectively to find books, articles and other resources.

Database research tutorial

Effective research with databases

A self-help tutorial on effective research with databases.

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Row of books

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Understanding your resource list

Understanding your resource list

A self-help tutorial on understanding resource lists and planning your reading.