Finding Journal (and Newspaper) Articles: History

The most current research on any academic topic is usually found in journal articles. Currency of information may not be as pressing a concern in history as it is in other disciplines – the life sciences, for example – but new findings, theories, and critiques are constantly emerging in historical writing, and this writing will typically appear in journals first. Journal articles can also provide a more detailed examination of particular aspects of a topic than is usually available in books, which tend to take a broader or more general view of their subjects. As a reflection of this, articles on a given topic are often – through not always – more plentiful than books. If you were studying the Falkland Islands War of 1982, for example, you would find that the Library has about 15 books on this conflict, whereas there are references to more than 100 articles on the same subject in the Historical Abstracts database.

Step 1
Use databases (or print indexes) to search for articles on a particular topic

Databases are available through the Library Web page. Print indexes can be found in the Reference area on the Main Level, shelved alphabetically by title. Note that in addition to providing references to articles, some of the databases include the fulltext of articles.

For research on history outside North America, the most pertinent database is Historical Abstracts.

Students of British history may wish to consult English Historical Documents Online, which contains over 5,000 indexed and fully searchable British history primary documents from 500-1914. Another resource is British Humanities Index( 1962, 1964 - present), an abstracting and indexing service covering around 400 British journals and newspapers. “Humanities” is interpreted broadly, embracing a wide range of topics, from the arts through politics, and including history. (Located in Indexes in the Reference Stacks).

For research on the history of North America (Canada and the U.S.A.), the most pertinent database is America: History & Life.

For research using primary sources, Adam Matthew Online is comprised of over 40 different collections on a variety of different subjects, including World, British, and American history, as well as gender, medicine, popular culture, slavery, and the First World War.  

Students of Canadian history may also wish to consult CBCA: Business Current Affairs and Reference (1982 - present) and, in print, the Canadian Periodical Index (1920 - 2002).

Students of the history of the U.S.A. may also wish to consult Academic Search Complete (this database does include some references to writings on the history of Canada, Britain, and other nations, but American content predominates).

Step 2
Locate the specific articles.

To find the article, you need to determine if the Library has the journal containing the article.

Most of our databases contain a GetIt@UPEI link for each of the search results.

Use this link to:

  • determine if the article is available fulltext indicated by a “Get Fulltext” link
  • search the UPEI Library Catalogue for print copies of the journal title if no fulltext link
  • request the article through Interlibrary Loan if the article is not available

If you do not have the link, follow the same procedure, as above, by using the links from the Library web page

Print journals are shelved alphabetically by title on the Upper Level. Those in microfilm or microfiche format are located in Special Collections on the Main Level.

Electronic journals by subject:


Please contact the Library’s Service Desk, 566-0583, for assistance.

A Note on Newspapers and Newspaper Indexes

Newspapers can be an excellent resource for students seeking a contemporary perspective on historical events as they were unfolding. In recent years, the Library has acquired digital archives of two national "papers of record", The Globe and Mail (Canada) and The Times (Great Britain). In addition, the most prominent newspaper in the United States, The New York Times, has opened its digital archives to the public (all articles from 1851 - present can searched online: the full-text of articles published from 1851 - 1922 and from 1987 - present is freely-available online; articles from 1923 - 1986 are available on microfilm). For the two latter titles, the following print indexes provide additional search coverage:

The New York Times Index (1851 - ) provides name and subject indexing of this newspaper from 1851 onwards. (Located in Indexes in the Reference Stacks, shelved as New York Times Index).

The Times Index (1785 - ) provides name and subject indexing to Britain’s most prominent newspaper. (Located in Indexes in the Reference Stacks, shelved as Times Index).

In addition, Keesing's World News Archive offers "a searchable collection of world events since 1931," with fulltext news digest articles for the past 20 years, and headline/date references back to 1931. Facts on file : weeky world news digest (1944 - 2004) and Canadian news facts (1967 - 2001) are similar resources, but available only in print, not on-line. (Located in Indexes in the Reference Stacks);

Simon Lloyd, B.A., M.L.I.S.
Special Collections Librarian
Phone: 902-566-0536
Date Created: 29-March-2005
Date Revised: 21-September-2015