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Research Guide: History 4590-Middle Eastern History

Library  Resources

Stewart Library owns or has access to a large number of resources to help in your research.  

Getting Started:  if you're not sure of a topic or need some background information, reference books can be very helpful.  Some good ones to start with are:

Online Dictionaries & Encyclopedias from Xreferplus, including: Dictionary of Contemporary History, Concise Atlas of World History,  and the Andromeda Encyclopedia Dictionary of World History.

from Xreferplus, requires WSU ID
Online Dictionaries & Encyclopedias from Oxford Reference Online, including:  The Oxford Dictionary of Islam, Dictionary of Contemporary World History, Who's Who in the Twentieth Century and many more. From Oxford Reference Online, requires WSU ID
The New Encyclopedia of Islam REF   BP40.G42 2001
Historical dictionary of Islamic fundamentalist movements in the Arab world, Iran, and Turkey REF   BP60.M36 1999
Islam beyond terrorists and terrorism : biographies of the most influential Muslims in history REF   BP70.M34 2002
Dictionary of the History of Ideas REF   CB 5 .D52 9973
Historiography:  An Annotated Bibliography  of Journal Articles, Books & Dissertations REF   D 13 .H5 1987
Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing REF   D 14 .E53 1999
AHA Guide to Historical Literature REF   D 20 .A4 1995
Historical atlas of the crusades REF   D158.K66 2002
Atlas of the Jewish world REF   DS117.D4 1984
The Oxford dictionary of Byzantium REF   DF521.O93 1991
Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World REF   DS 35.53 .O9 1995
Encyclopedia of the modern Middle East REF   DS43.E53 1996
The Cambridge encyclopedia of the Middle East and North Africa REF   DS44.C37 1988
The Middle East : a political dictionary REF   DS61.Z58 1992
The Biographical dictionary of the Middle East REF   DS62.4.B56 1991
Encyclopedia Judaica REF   DS 102.8 .E496 1978
Historical dictionary of Palestine REF   DS102.8.N397 1997
Encyclopedia of African History & Culture REF   DT 3 P27  2001
Islamic family law in a changing world : a global resource book REF   KMM554.I76 2002
Companion encyclopedia of Middle Eastern and North African film REF   PN1993.5.A65C66 2001
Combined Retrospective Index to Journals in History 1838-1974. REF   Z 6205 .C18

You can find many other reference books on historical topics  by browsing the following call number areas:  

 BP    Islam

 C       the auxiliary sciences of history  (archaeology, chronology, biography, etc.)

 DS    Asian History, including the Middle East

 DT    African History, including North Africa

You can also find historical works in many other areas.  For example, economic history is in the H's,  the history of Medicine is in R, Diplomatic history is often in the J area (political science).

Finding Books:  

Use the WSU online catalog  to find what books and other materials, such as videos,  the Library owns.  The catalog will provide the location and availability of the resource.  WorldCat    is a patron accessible version of the OCLC Online Union Catalog, which we use to borrow books from other libraries.  It contains more than 35 million records describing items owned by libraries around the world; each record contains library holdings. ~1000 A.D.-present.   We also have a subscription to Netlibrary, which provides access to electronic books.

Finding Articles:  

The best way to find articles is to use one of the Library's article databases.   These databases provide references to articles in journals.  In many cases, the actual article is available on the computer.

Our  databases are available from home or work.  Just click on the link and enter your ID number when prompted.  Don't know your ID or pin number?  Directions for finding them are available on our Off-Campus Access   page.

NOTE:  If you can't find information on your topic in these databases, there are two likely possibilities:
1.) you need to try different search terms or enter them differently 

2.)  most of the research on that topic predates database coverage and you will need to use print resources.

Useful databases for most historical research  include:

  • Academic Search Elite  is a general database that allows you to search important journals in many fields, including all areas of history.  It has many full-text articles and is a good place to begin your research.  
  • Historical Abstracts   Index to scholarly literature in world history, excluding the United States and Canada.  1964-present.
  • Reader's Guide  Index to popular magazines (mostly US) such as Time and Newsweek.  Good source for social history.  1983 - present.
  • Reader's Guide Retrospective  - Reader's Guide from  1890 - 1982.  Search using current or original subject headings. 
  • PAIS   citations to information on Public Affairs,  with some abstracts, 1972 - present, updates monthly  --  a good source for information on areas around the world  from an economic or political perspective.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts - Citations and abstracts to the literature of political science and its complementary fields, including international relations, law, and public administration / policy. Includes Political Science Abstracts and ABC POL SCI. 1975 to present.
  • Humanities Abstracts   Index (with summaries) to articles and reviews of books, plays, and radio/TV programs in the humanities, including history of all periods and archaeology. 1984 - present.
  • Lexis/Nexis Universe   Full-text coverage of many news, legal, and business resources. Dates of coverage vary, many update daily. 
  • Military and Government Collection  (Formerly Military Library) Provides fulltext for over 430 military and government related periodicals and general interest magazines. 
  • Ethnic NewsWatch    Full text  articles from minority and ethnic newspapers, magazines, and journals in English and Spanish. 1960-present.
  • GenderWatch Full text  Newspaper, magazine, and journal articles addressing the impact of gender in society.  1990-Present (with selected articles from the 1970's and 1980's)
  • Contemporary Women's Issues (CWI) Citations and selected fulltext from articles about contemporary women's issues on health and human rights. 1992 to present.
  • Book Review Digest   Reviews of fiction and nonfiction in magazines and journals.  Available in print.  East Wall in Reference Area, REF Z1219.C962 .  1905 to present.
  • Books in Print with Book Reviews  Features more than 350,000 full text reviews from nine leading sources and consists of bibliographic records from over 46,000 publishers. Also includes Books Out of Print.
  • Literature Resource Center   a complete literature reference database designed for both the undergraduate and graduate student - a good place to look for basic biographical information and critical analysis.
  • MLA Bibliography  a good place to look for information on mythology and folklore, though mostly from a literary perspective. 

Ancient & Medieval History:

Ancient & Medieval History:  many of the more general databases listed above will cover some ancient & medieval history.  However, for more specific information, you will need to use print indexes and abstracts.  The good news is that are many excellent resources available on the internet, including primary sources.

  • L'Annee Philologique  -  this is "the" bibliography for  Greece & Rome and their neighbors, including Byzantium.  It comes out annually, but runs several years behind.  Entries in French, English and a variety of other languages.  Focus is predominantly Classical, but also some earlier and later coverage.  Now has some online access.
  • Medieval  - there are a number of specialized medieval indices, many in French and some in Latin.  If you can't find what you need in the databases listed above, please contact me (Kathy Payne) and we'll figure out  what's best for your subject.  Expect to have to travel to another library.  For a short paper try using Academic Search Elite or Humanities Abstracts.


Ejournals  is a database of all the full-text journals, magazines and newspapers that are available to WSU library patrons in all of our different databases.  You can search the name of the journal by title or title keyword to get a link to the resource.

We have several databases that provide access to full-text history journals.  The two most important for history are:

  • JSTOR  A group of fulltext journals in general science, history, economics, ecology, literature, mathematics, political science, and population studies. Dates of coverage vary.  This is an archival database.  It does NOT cover the  most recent 3-5 years, back issues only.
  • Project Muse Full-text journals in many fields  

If you are doing research on history  in a specific field, such as medicine, science, theater, business, and so on,  it can be helpful to look in a database specific to that field.  For example:  to research medical history,   look in a medical database, to research theater history  look in a performing arts database.  Ask a librarian to help determine which database is best for your topic.

Browsing Current  Periodicals: 

You can also browse through journals and magazines.  This can be helpful when you're looking for a topic.  Current issues are on the 1st floor south, older volumes on the 2nd floor.  Use the call number areas listed under books.   For example:

BP 1  Islamic Studies

D 1      General History 

DS 1    Asian Studies  (includes Middle East)

Interlibrary Loan:

If we do not own a particular book or article you need, we will borrow it for you from another library through Interlibrary Loan.

Web Resources

There's a lot of good information out on the web.  Unfortunately, some it's not so good, so be sure to evaluate, evaluate, evaluate!  Some interesting places to start looking are:

There are many other excellent history sites.  Most are listed on one of the three sites listed above.  You can also use a search engine to find more specific pages.  I recommend  Other good search engines to try are: and teoma.comKartoo charts results graphically - give it a try.  And remember:  evaluate, evaluate, evaluate!

Useful Guides


Research Tips

Updated January 5, 2005 . Please send comments to Kathy Payne, Head of Reference
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