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USSY 285N - The American Dream

This research guide will compliment the in-class library orientation for Professor Leitman's course entitled The American Dream: Real and Imagined

Get Online Help

Reminder: Online Access

  • Library resources require going through CWRU Single Sign-On.
  • The best method is to follow links from the library website.
  • When logged in and a browser window is not closed, access should continue from resource to resource.
  • Remember to close your browser when done.

Research databases and online archives

The KSL website provides access to over 300 specialized bibliographic and full-text research databases.  They are organized alphabetically, and also by subject.  Too access the database directory from the KSL home page, hover your cursor over the "Research Tools" link on the lefthand side of the home page.  In the drop-down menu, click the "Databases" link to access the directory.

The KSL database collections fall into two general types:

  1. Bibliographic Research databases which allow you to search for articles on a topic that have been published in magazines, journals, and newspapers
  2. Online full text collections of historic primary and secondary source materials
Of the first type, several may be helpful for your assignment.  Here are a few suggestions, though other databases will have content of interest as well:
For these and other bibliographic citation databases, you can apply many of the same search refinements that you use for searching the online library catalog.  You can also save and export the citations that you want to keep track of, and many of the databases will have full-text access to the articles themselves. 
 
If an article copy is not available online or through the Case Libraries print collection, you can use a free library service called Interlibrary Loan to order a copy of the article.
 
Of the second database type, we have many primary resource collections that may be useful to you, depending on the time period you are researching.  Here are a few representative examples, but there are others as well!

NOTE:  Make sure to check the "Finding Resources" handout from our library orientation class for more database suggestions.

And, as always, make sure to apply these searching principles as you gather information about your topic:

  • Break topic down into concepts & keywords
  • Use Boolean operators and truncation in database searching
  • Browse subject headings in catalog/database thesaurus or citation record
  • Limit by material type, date, location,...etc.

Primary Sources, and How to Find Them

Here's a very helpful online guide from University of Illinois Library website:

Primary Sources Research Guide

This guide defines what primary sources are, and describes effective search techniques for locating them in catalogs, indexes, and online archives. 

Note that many of the reference resources, citation index collections and online primary resource archives listed on this guide are also available through the KSL website.

Also be aware that there are other physical and electronic collections in the Case Libraries system that provide lots of primary sources.  Locations for these resources are indicated in Case Libraries online catalog records.

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