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History Guide

All About History

The “All About History” group is for all Montco students interested in history and those enrolled in history courses or the history program.


Here are some keywords to use in your searches. Remember to use terms that will narrow your search! 

  • Absolute monarchy
  • Access rights
  • Accrual method
  • Age
  • Age of Discovery
  • Age of Enlightenment
  • Agent provocateur
  • Ancient history
  • Annales School
  • Annals
  • Anno Domini (AD)
  • Anthropology
  • Antiquarian
  • Antiquarianism
  • Antiquities
  • Antiquity
  • Archaeology
  • Archival bond
  • Archival science
  • Archive
  • Archontology
  • Art history
  • Artifact (also artefact)
  • Audience
  • Autobiography
  • Auxiliary sciences of history
  • Avalonia
  • Before Christ (BC)
  • Before the Common Era (BCE)
  • Bibliography
  • Blitzkrieg
  • Bolsheviks
  • Book review
  • Bottom-up approach
  • Bronze Age
  • Buranji
  • Caesar
  • Calendar
  • Century
  • Charter
  • Chorography
  • Chronicle
  • Chronology
  • Classical antiquity
  • Circa (also abbreviated c., ca., circ., or cca.)
  • Citation
  • Classical tradition
  • Classics (also called Classical Studies)
  • Cliometrics
  • Codex
  • Codicology
  • The Coherence Theory of Truth
  • Colonialism
  • Common Era (CE)
  • Comparative history
  • Congo Craton
  • Context
  • Correspondence theory of truth
  • Counterfactual history
  • Crypto history
  • Cultural history
  • Culture
  • Dark Ages
  • Dossier
  • Diplomatics
  • Discipline
  • Economic determinism
  • Economic history
  • Edwardian
  • Empire
  • Enlightenment
  • Environmental history
  • Epigraphy
  • Episteme
  • Epoch
  • Era
  • Ethnohistory
  • Fakelore
  • Floruit (fl.)
  • Folklore
  • Fonds
  • Genealogy
  • Gondwana
  • Gregorian calendar
  • Hagiography
  • Hegemony
  • Heraldry
  • Hermeneutics
  • Historian
  • Historical classification
  • Historical method
  • Historical negationism
  • Historical realism
  • Historical record
  • Historical revisionism
  • Historical thinking
  • Historicism
  • Historicity
  • Historiography
  • History
  • Human history
  • Humanism
  • illuminated manuscript
  • imperialism
  • Industrial Age
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Interpretation
  • Iron Age
  • Journal
  • Julian calendar
  • Lacuna
  • Landscape history
  • Legend
  • Local history
  • Longue durée
  • Lore
  • Macrohistory
  • Manuscript
  • Microhistory
  • Middle Ages
  • Migration
  • Military history
  • Modern history
  • Modernity
  • Monograph
  • Myth
  • Mythology
  • Notaphily
  • Numismatics
  • Natural history
  • Onomatology
  • Palaeography
  • Paleo-Tethys Ocean
  • Pangaea
  • Past
  • Periodization
  • Phaleristics
  • Philately
  • Philology
  • Political history
  • Post-classical history
  • Prehistory
  • Presentism
  • Primary source
  • Prosopography
  • Protohistory
  • Provenance
  • Pseudohistory
  • Public history
  • Quantitative history
  • Radical history
  • Radiocarbon dating
  • Regnal year
  • Renaissance
  • Respect des fonds
  • Revolution
  • Rodinia
  • Romanticism
  • Reference work
  • Revisionist history
  • Saeculum
  • Scientific Revolution
  • Secondary source
  • Seal
  • Sigillography
  • Social history
  • Statistics
  • Stone Age
  • Stratigraphy
  • Subaltern
  • Teleology
  • Terminus ante quem (TAQ)
  • Terminus post quem (TPQ)
  • Tethys Ocean
  • Three-age system
  • Time
  • Timeline
  • Timeliness
  • Top-down approach
  • Toponymy
  • Transhistoricity
  • Typology
  • Universal history
  • Unwitting testimony
  • Urban history
  • War
  • Warfare
  • Whig history
  • Women's history
  • Yuga

Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources

What the difference between a primary, secondary, and tertiary source?

  • Primary sources are created as close to the original event or phenomenon as it is possible to be. For example, a photograph or video of an event is a primary source. Data from an experiment is a primary source.
  • Secondary sources are one step removed from that. Secondary sources are based on or about the primary sources. For example, articles and books in which authors interpret data from another research team's experiment or archival footage of an event are usually considered secondary sources.
  • Tertiary sources are one further step removed from that. Tertiary sources summarize or synthesize the research in secondary sources. For example, textbooks and reference books are tertiary sources (Text in this section is from Suny Empire College's guide: Research Skills Tutorial).

Why is this important?

  • For your research assignments, you are asked to find primary, secondary, and tertiary sources. You'll need to be able to recognize the difference between all three. Remember primary sources are about the event. Secondary sources analyze the event and interpret another author's work. Tertiary sources summarize events from other authors after the event has occurred. 

Reviewing Resources

Scholarly or peer-reviewed journal articles are written by scholars of a particular subject, whom are considered experts in their field.

  • Tip: Scholarly articles usually have an abstract (description of what you'll find in the article), charts/graphs, and a full biography or citation list.

Substantive news articles are reliable sources of information on events of the day/time or issues of concern for the general public or world. Articles from these sources are usually vetted (or double-checked) for credibility. 

  • Tip: Substantive new articles included a date and time posted with a byline (name of the writer of the article) at the top of the article. If a correction is made to the article, it will include a revision date and time. The correction is noted fully at the bottom of the article.

Popular articles are articles relating to entertainment for the general public, usually these articles are produced by corporations for profit.

  • Tip: Popular articles include advertisements (ads), usually, more ads than articles. These ads and the articles themselves are colorful Revisions are noted with date and time, but corrections aren't often noted. The byline is included at the bottom of the articles.

Tabloids "articles" relate to entertainment news but are used to generate a reaction from the general public. These "articles" are often false. 

  • Tip: No byline is included. No sources. Often linked to an opinion on a current social issue, no other sources mentioned.

Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources. Depending on your project or the assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the following.

Summarize: Some annotations merely summarize the source. What are the main arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say? The length of your annotations will determine how detailed your summary is.

Assess: After summarizing a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it. Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source?

Reflect: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic? (OWL Purdue).

Library Databases

Library Journals & Magazines

Analyzing Historical Sources

Video from History Skills, 2019.