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History: Library Resources: PNW Secondary Sources

Databases for articles on history of all eras

Secondary Sources


Secondary sources build off of primary sources with more extensive and in-depth analysis. They summarize, evaluate, and analytically interpret primary material, often by offering a personal perspective. While these are useful to check what other experts in the field have to say, they are not evidence. It is one step removed from the original or primary source.  Because secondary sources are published works, they will list their sources of information which can be used to located additional information for your research.

Use secondary sources to see what others have discussed. You can also use secondary sources to explore what subtopics have already been explored on a given topic.


General examples: Textbooks, monographs (books), analysis, review articles, dissertations, thesis,

History:  Article analyzing Queen Elizabeth I's speech; book recounting battle history of World War II; biographies

Literature: Literary critiques such as an article that examines Cervantes' writing stylepaper discussing motifs in The Metamorphosis

Art: Lecture given about Michelangelo's techniques; Criticism or review of Picasso's painting

Social Sciences: News commentaries; Article analyzing results of mental illness study; book that discusses population trends over time; evaluations of social and government policy, law and legislation.

Natural Sciences: Review articles that evaluates the theories and works of others; article on the environmental impact of pollution


Repplinger, John. "Primary, Secondary, & Tertiary Sources:." Willamette University, 5 Apr. 2019, Accessed 15 Apr. 2019. 

How to Search JSTOR

At the end of the video it gives you a phone number to contact. DON'T use the phone number in the video. If you have any questions contact the SFCC Library at 509-533-3834. 

Online Searching


Can't Find an Item You Want?

If you find an article in Google Scholar that does not seem to be available online catalog, the SFCC Library can get it for you! Just submit an online interlibrary loan request.

Keep in mind that it may take ten days to two weeks for print materials to arrive. Articles will be primarily emailed and typically take up to 24-72 hours to arrive.

History Article Databases


Searching by Domain

When searching online you can narrow your search by specifying the domain. The domain is the part of the url address that specifics who is creating the website. Some of the most commonly used domains  are below.

When researching your topics try specifying the website domain. For example, a search for LGBTQ AND law will only bring results from government websites. If you search for LGBTQ AND civil rights  will mostly get results from non-profit organizations.

Remember to be strategic with you research and use the "Evaluation" tab on this guide to evaluate the sources you find online.

Web Resources

American Indians of the Pacific Northwest Collection 

This site provides an extensive digital collection of original photographs and documents about the Northwest Coast and Plateau Indian cultures, complemented by essays written by anthropologists, historians, and teachers about both particular tribes and cross-cultural topics. 

Civil Rights & Labor History Consortium 

These thirteen projects from the University of Washington bring together maps, films, slide shows, nearly one hundred video oral history interviews, and several thousand photographs, documents, and digitized newspaper articles. 

Historical United States Census Bureau

Provides access to census materials from 1790 to the present and other related materials useful for genealogy and historical research projects

‚ÄčHistory Link

Free online encyclopedia of Washington state history, produced by the non-profit History Ink. History Link doesn't provide the depth of analysis found in more scholarly sources, but worth exploring for topic ideas.

Plateau People's Web Portal

A gateway to the cultural materials of Plateau peoples that are held in Washington State University Libraries, Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC), the Museum of Anthropology and by national donors. 

Spokane Historical 

Spokane Historical is a project of the Public History program at EWU and is an interactive platform for telling stories of Spokane and Eastern Washington.

Journals of Lewis and Clark

Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition - University of Nebraska

The complete journals of Lewis and Clark. Includes full-text search, as well as maps, audio recordings of excerpts, and some original images from the journals.

Lewis and Clark: The Journals -

Excerpts, not the complete text, but includes some navigation options not found on the University of Nebraska site, including the ability to view the entries only of selected members of the expedition.