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History Subject Guide: HIST 2001/2011: Western Europe fr. Late Antiquity

A guide to key databases, reference & web sources, and research & citation guides for History

Course guide for HIST 2001/2011: Western Europe from Late Antiquity to the Mid-17th Century

Information Resources for History 2001/2011

Prepared by Elizabeth Millar, R.P. Bell Library | Reference Office, Bell Library, Room M11 | 364-2572

Catalogue Searches

From the Mount Allison Libraries and Archives web site ( click on “Mt.A Library Catalogue” in the “Quick Links” section on the right. If you are on campus, click ALL USERS; if you are off campus click “Mount Allison Users.”

Exact Searches

When you know exactly what you are searching for, such as the specific title or author of a book or journal use Exact Search.

Example: Medicine in the Crusades : warfare, wounds and the medieval surgeon
Search: medicine in the crusades (click “Title begins…”)

Keyword Searches

When you are exploring a topic and looking for a variety of resources, use a Keyword Search.

Example: medicine in the middle ages
Search: medic$ AND “middle ages” (keyword anywhere)


The $ is a truncation symbol that permits you to search for variations of a term all at once. The example above shows “medic$” – this means the database will search for all words that begin with “medic” such as medical and medicine.

Other useful search symbols are the double quotation marks which you should use to search for a specific phrase, such as “middle ages.” This means the database will search for “middle ages” in that exact order, with no words in between.

Think of synonyms and terms which are related to your topic and search for them as well. It is possible that the term you are using isn’t the same as what the database has selected to describe the topic. It doesn’t necessarily mean your term is wrong, it’s just different.

Example (synonyms): black death, plague
Example (related terms): epidemics, disease, pestilence

To limit a search, use the Boolean operator AND to combine search terms; limit the search to “keyword in title” or other field; or enter the search in the Advanced Keyword Search fields and limit by language, type of resource, location of resource, or publication year. To increase the number of search results, use the Boolean operator OR to combine similar search terms (synonyms).

Use the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LC Subjects) to refine your search. They are listed in the “Full Record” screen of each item and link to other resources which are about that topic.

Index and Database Searches

From the Libraries and Archives web site, click on “Indexes and Databases” to search for journal, newspaper, and magazine articles.

If you know which index or database you want to search, click its first letter, and then click either “On-campus” or “Off-campus” to access it. If you are working off-campus, you will be prompted for your email ID and password to confirm that you are a Mount Allison student.

If you don’t know which index or database you should search, select the subject area from the list to access relevant resources. Iter, JSTOR, and Project Muse, are all relevant databases for HIST 2000.

Iter Bibliography

The Iter Bibliography is a resource supported by the University of Toronto Libraries. As a result, it provides Library of Congress Subject Headings within the record the same as the Mount Allison catalogue does.

For best results, use the Advanced Search features to narrow your search as much as possible.

Example: Basic Search for: medicine, in any field returns 4100 results

Advanced Search for: “black death” as a subject, and limited by English language documents returns 67 results. If you limit the search further, to articles only, the bibliography returns 13 titles.


For most indexes and databases the truncation symbol (the one that allows you to search variant endings of a word) is the asterisk (*). Note that the Iter Bibliography uses the dollar sign ($).

Use the Advanced Search features to make your search more specific.

Whenever you have a choice between using an .html document, often shown as “Full-Text,” and a .pdf document use the .pdf document. Some databases show where page breaks are in their .html documents, but most do not. .pdf documents are generally images of the original article, and they clearly show the page numbers, making them much easier to cite properly. When page numbers are unavailable, as in most .html documents, then you need to include the paragraph number in your citation.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

If you need a resource (book, film, journal article) that isn’t available at Mount Allison, the libraries can bring it in for you at no charge. Go to the Circulation Desk first to activate your student card, and then click on the link to the “Interlibrary Loan Request Form” on the bottom right of the library’s home page. It leads to the ILL web page here:

Note: Interlibrary loans can take one to two weeks or longer, depending on
where the items are located. Start your research early in order to leave yourself time should you require resources from other libraries.

Internet Searches

Information on the Internet ranges from excellent to awful. Select web resources carefully when you are doing your research. Web sites for research institutes and universities are examples of where you can find good material. Wikipedia, although it can have its uses, is not considered a scholarly resource suitable for university-level research. Note that Dr. Hutchison has specifically identified the Internet Medieval Sourcebook as an approved website for HIST 2000.


Try to make your search as specific as possible. The more general your search terms, the greater the number of results you will get.

Limit your searches by using the Advanced Search options, such as language, file format, and specific web site. To limit a Basic Search to a particular web site, enter your search terms, and then add the limiter (site: for Google; domain: for AltaVista) and the domain.

Example: will limit Google search results to only pages from the Fordham University web site, the site which hosts the Internet Medieval Sourcebook

Note: there is a colon ( : ) immediately following the word “site” (or “domain” in AltaVista)

Print Resources

Reference resources are excellent tools to help you learn about or pick a topic. A very select list of examples is provided below. To limit a library catalogue search to only reference works, enter your search terms in the Advanced Search boxes, and change location to: “Reference Collection.”

Atlas of Medieval Europe. New York: Routledge, 1997. Call Number: REF G 1791 .A85 1997

Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000. Call Number: REF D 114 .E53 2000

Medieval England : An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland, 1998. Call Number: REF DA 129 .M43 1998

Medieval France: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland, 1995. Call Number: REF DC 33.2 .M44 1995

Medieval Science, Technology, and Medicine: An Encyclopedia. New York: Routledge, 2005. Call Number: REF Q 124.97 .M43 2005

The Early Middle Ages to 1300. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989. Call Number: (Music Library) REF ML 160 .N44 v. 02 1986

The Hutchinson Dictionary of Ancient & Medieval Warfare. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1998. Call Number: REF D 25 .A2 H88 1998

The Middle Ages: A Concise Encyclopaedia. London: Thames and Hudson, 1989. Call Number: REF D 118 .M4 1989

The New Cambridge Medieval History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Call Number: REF D 117 .N48 1995

Trade, Travel, and Exploration in the Middle Ages: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland, 2000. Call Number: REF HF 1001 .T7 2000

Women and Gender in Medieval Europe: An Encyclopedia. New York: Routledge, 2006. Call Number: REF HQ 1147 .E85 W65 2006

Writing Book Reviews

Print Guides

Buckley, Joanne. “The Book Review.” In Fit to Print: The Canadian Student’s Guide to Essay Writing. Toronto: Harcourt Brace, 1998.
Mount Allison Call Number: REF LB 2369 .B83 1998 (see pages 101-103)

Online Guides

Betz, Sonya. “A Concise Guide to Writing a Critical Book Review.” University of Alberta Libraries. 23 September 2005. <> (April 6 2020).

“How to Write a Critical Book Review.” U of T Mississauga Library: Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre. 8 March 2007. <> (April 6 2020).


Dr. Hutchison has requested that you use The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition to format your footnotes and bibliographies. The print volume is in the R.P. Bell Library, call number: REF Z 253 .U69 2003. There is also a quick reference sheet available at the Reference Desk, and online at:

Citing Resources from the Internet Medieval Sourcebook

Example: “Medieval Sourcebook: Gildas: from Concerning the Ruin of Britain (De
Excidio Britanniae)”


Bandonicus, Gildas. Concerning the Ruin of Britain (De Excidio Britanniae). In Internet Medieval Sourcebook, ed. Paul Halsall. April 1996. (accessed April 6 2020).


1Gildas Bandonicus, Concerning the Ruin of Britain (De Exidio Britanniae), in Internet Medieval Sourcebook, ed. Paul Halsall, April 1996,, (accessed April 6 2020).

Questions? Ask a Librarian.

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Elizabeth Millar
Room 302
Ralph Pickard Bell Library
49 York St.
Sackville, NB E4L 1C6