History Databases: Limiting by Historical Period

Open America: History and Life advanced search screen in another browser window to work through this tutorial side by side.

This tutorial will show you how to limit by historical period when searching in either of the essential history research databases: Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life.

This limit is not imposed on the time period in which a historian wrote the published work. It is on the time period the work is about.

The advanced search screen in the two databases are identical. 

Let's experiment by performing research on slavery in Virginia but only during the period of English colonization.

You can use both slavery and Virginia as keywords but in the historical time period limit, you will want to enter some dates.

Look on the right side of the search screen for the heading Historical Period. Start the date range with 1607, the year the colonists successfully settled at Jamestown. Choose CE, common era, from the pull-down menu. End the date range with 1783, the year the American Revolution ended. Click Search.

Assess the Search Result List

You will see both in the result list and in the detailed records the historical period field on which the database drew in order to include the item in the results. In each case, you will notice that the range includes yours: 1607 to 1783.

History databases include many other options for limiting a search and filtering a results list. Study the advanced search screen to see other options.

For help from a librarian, please select from the options described at our website.