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BGSU Firelands Library

History Resources: Books

Reference Books


Reference books are useful for identifying people, places, events, dates, etc.  Many articles in reference books include a bibliography of recommended sources.  The BGSU Libraries own hundreds of history reference books.  Here are a few general history reference books that may be useful.


Searching for E-Books

The library provides access to more than 50,000 books from a variety of sources.  For information about ebooks, see the online guide to Ebooks.

Book Reviews

To find a list of online and print resources for identifying and accessing book reviews, click on this link to the Book Reviews page.


Countries of the World

Searching the Catalogs for Books

To identify books, you can search the three main catalogs:

BGSU Libraries Catalog

Indexes books, magazines and journals, videos, music, and electronic resources that are owned by BGSU.

OhioLINK Central Catalog

Indexes books, videos, music, electronic resources from college and university libraries, the State Library of Ohio, and some large public libraries in Ohio. Request online, with delivery to Jerome Main Circulation desk in 2-3 business days.

Finding Books That Include Primary Sources

One way to identify books that are primary sources is to look for books written by people who were involved in the event or activity you are researching.  When you look at secondary sources, write down the names of people and then look for them as authors.

In the BGSU Libraries Catalog, the OhioLINK Central Catalog, and WorldCat, books that have been assigned subjects with the subheadings in the list below might be primary sources.  However, don’t expect that a book that includes primary sources will always include one of these words or phrases in a subject heading.  Also, these subheadings are not used in other databases.






--Personal narratives



Great Britain -- Colonies -- America -- History -- Sources

United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal Narratives, Confederate

Pioneers -- United States -- Interviews

Jews -- Poland -- Correspondence

Guerillas -- Latin America -- Diaries

Underground Railroad -- Anecdotes


For information about the difference between primary and secondary sources, see:

Primary and Secondary Sources