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History: World History


World History Information Sources


This Research Guide will help you find information in books, library databases, websites, and primary sources.


1811 world map

World 1811
Source: Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division


Use the search box on the library webpage to find books.

If you're just wanting to browse the shelves, World History books can be found in the 900s.

Books that check out are on the 2nd floor of the library.

Reference books are on the 1st floor. These include specialized encyclopedias and historical atlases. They are often good starting points for research. Here are some examples:

cover of Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt 

Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt


 cover of Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome

Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece & Rome

(R938.003 OXFORD)

cover of Encyclopedia of Society and Culture in the Medieval World

Encyclopedia of Society and Culture in the Medieval World

(included in the Gale Virtual Reference Library database)

cover of Encyclopedia of the Modern World

Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World

(R909.0808 OXFORD)


cover of Encyclopedia of World War 1

Encyclopedia of World War I: a Political, Social, and Military History

(R940.303 WORLD W)


cover for Encyclopedia of World War II

Encyclopedia of World War II: a Political, Social, and Military History

(R940.53 ENCYCLO)


cover of Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East & North Africa

Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East & North Africa

(R956.003 ENCYCLO)


cover of Encyclopedia of India

Encyclopedia of India

(R954.003 ENCYCLO)


cover of Encyclopedia of Modern Asia

Encyclopedia of Modern Asia

(R950.03 ENCYCLO) 

 cover of New Encyclopedia of Africa

New Encyclopedia of Africa

(R960.03 NEW ENC)


 cover of Encyclopedia of Latin American History & Culture

Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture

(R980.003 ENCYCLO)

Library Databases

Library databases contain reliable information that is generally not available elsewhere on the Web. For this class the following databases will be particularly useful.  They can be found in the library databases section of the SCC Library homepageAccess from off-campus will require entering your student ID number. 

Primary Sources

What are Primary Sources?

 "Primary sources are the evidence of history, original records or objects created by participants or observers at the time historical events occurred or even well after events, as in memoirs and oral histories. Primary sources may include but are not limited to: letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, newspapers, maps, speeches, interviews, documents produced by government agencies, photographs, audio or video recordings, born-digital items (e.g. emails), research data, and objects or artifacts (such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons). These sources serve as the raw materials historians use to interpret and analyze the past."

Source: Primary Sources on the Web: Finding, Evaluating, Using, Reference and User Services Association

Reference Books that include Primary Sources

Located on the 1st floor of the library

  • Encyclopedia of World War I (R940.303 WORLD W) - documents in last volume
  • Encyclopedia of World War II (R940.53 ENCYCLO) - documents in last volume
  • Eyewitness to History (R909 EYEWITN)
  • First Encounters: Native Voices on the Coming of the Europeans (R909 FIRST E)
  • Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History (R808.85 LEND ME)
  • Mammoth Book of Eyewitness Ancient Rome (R937.06 MAMMOTH)
  • Mammoth Book of Eyewitness History 2000 (R909 MAMMOTH)
  • Milestone Documents in World History (R909 MILESTO) - online version in the SCC Library's Salem Press database

Primary Sources in Books That Check Out

Ask a librarian to help you find books that have the following subheadings: correspondence, diaries, interviews, personal narratives, sources, speeches, documents.

Library Databases that include Primary Sources

Find these databases on the library's Research Databases page.

ArtStor - collection of art images, including photographs, manuscripts and maps

Salem Press - full text primary source documents with expert analysis and commentary

History Reference Center - search results often include primary sources

 Websites that contain Primary Sources


Help with Research

You can get help with your research by chatting online with a librarian (available 24/7), by emailing us (, or by calling the SCC Library Reference Desk at (509) 533-8821 during our normal business hours.

Citation Guides
How to cite sources in Chicago style, plus other writing assistance information.