History 1302

Open History 1302 Tutorial

in another browser window to work through this tutorial side by side.


Professor Brett Adams History 1302 Classes

This tutorial will teach you how to use History Study Center, one of the college databases, and how to find a topic for your research project.


 Use the forward arrows at the bottom of the page to move through the tutorial. 

The tutorial works best using the Firefox Browser.


You can also use the Alt forward and backward arrows on the keyboard to move back and forth on the page on the right.

Be sure to enter your name and print out the Certificate of Completion at the end, have it signed by a Reference Librarian, and turn in to your professor!

If you are a perfectionist and want to score 100% on the quiz you may take it as many times as you wish. Just close out of the tutorial and begin again.







In this context, library databases are
searchable online collections of information.

Collin College subscribes to hundreds of databases, giving students access to millions of magazine, newspaper and journal articles, electronic books, streaming videos, streaming music, art images, and more.

Databases are important because they provide access to reliable, up to date, FREE information.

Databases are only accessible to currently enrolled students, Faculty & Staff, both on and off campus, 24 hours a day.

If you are off campus and want to access a database you will be asked to enter your username & password one time when the database opens.



We ALL love Google!

When you type an entire sentence or question in Google it is smart enough to pick out the important words. This is called a natural language search.

This is why you can ask Google questions and usually get okay results. Google's algorithms rely on more than 200 unique signals that make it possible to guess what you might be looking for.

A Google search for Thomas Jefferson brings up 132,000,000 (132 MILLION) links!!!


Unfortunately, library databases and catalogs do not work the same way as Google.


Natural language searches (asking questions) in library databases often leave students frustrated, annoyed and usually reluctant to ask for help.


By the way, Librarians are here to help you!


According to Neil Gaiman, "Google can bring you back 100,00 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one."

quote by Neil Gaiman



Library databases can't ignore the unimportant words you include in your search - it only confuses them - AND will frustrate you!

And that's why keywords are so darn important!

How do you use keywords to find articles for your research? Keywords are index terms.

The word index comes from Latin, meaning "pointer finger."

Index terms (keywords) point the way for a computer to retrieve a particular document from a database.

Keywords are words that describe your topic.

Keywords come from research questions.

Suppose you wanted to find out about the ways railroads were a catalyst for demographic and economic growth in the United States?

Typing "In what ways were railroads a catalyst for demographic and economic growth in the United States?" in a database results in:

If you take the unimportant words out of that sentence you would end up with railroads and "economic growth" and demographics and America or the "United States" - that search gets much better results!

Notice the quotation marks around "economic growth" and "United States". Using quotation marks around two words or a phrase tells the database to only retrieve articles having those terms together.

Without quotation marks it will retrieve everything with United and States - economic and growth

So now, let's get started doing some searches!

Wait! This is a tutorial, but...

When you finish the tutorial follow these steps to find the library databases:


Login to CougarWeb...Click the Library Tab.



When the Library Home Page opens click on the link in the center of the page...Find Articles, from Magazines, Newspapers, Journals, and More...





The databases are listed in alphabetical order so click on the letter H in the listing at the top of the page and scroll to History Study Center Online.





 Click on Study Units and American History




Look through the time periods between 1865 and 1945


Please check with your professor if you have


questions about the time periods!

Click on the back arrow or the Alt back arrow at the bottom of the keyboard to go back to a previous page.

So, now we can get started with some searching...

After you click on American History look at the bottom link on the page. There are some very interesting topics listed under "American Society in the Twentieth Century." Click on it and then "America at the Movies 1891 - 1960."


Scroll down the page through the Highlights, Primary Sources (or Historical Documents) to Videos. Click on the top video link titled "Gone with the Wind Premiere, 1939."

By the way, this video would be considered a Primary Source (Historical Document) if you were giving a presentation on the movie.


It wouldn't do for this assignment because you need a Primary Source written during the time period you select. 


Make sure your computer speakers are working to hear the audio. If you have no audio, just read the introduction to answer the questions.

How many Academy Award Oscars did this film win!


In which movie theater did the movie premier?


Click the "Back to study Unit"at the top of the page and then Back to Browse Study Units and click the American history link.


Select The United States of America, 1865-1918 and scroll down to "The railroad in America." 

Scroll down to the Maps & Reference. Choose the first link; Railroads, 1830s and 1840s.

How many miles was the first track of rails in 1830?

You will have to enlarge the map to answer this question.

In which Southern city was the first railroad started in 1830?

Click the Back to Full Record link at the top of the page. You may need to click twice...and Back to Browse Study Units.


Select "Popular culture in the Gilded Age."


Under "Highlights" choose the book titled "Family Living on $500 a Year, by Juliet Carson. Find the Table of Contents (hint: p.5).



To what does Chapter XXI refer?

Click the back arrow until you are back to Popular culture in the Gilded Age


Let's do a search to learn more about William Randolph Hearst whose name appears in the introduction.


Databases are not case sensitive so it is not necessary to capitalize titles or proper names.


Type, hearst, william randolph in the Search For box at the top of the page. When searching proper names it is always better to use last name, comma, first name order. Leave the default to All content.



Note that you can also choose to search only specific sources here.


Notice the results under Maps & Reference. This is a good place to point out that dictionaries and encyclopedias should not be used as sources in academic writing They're good for background information or to satisfy your curiosity but use the library databases for your research articles.


What Movie was inspired by his life?


Under Multimedia, click on the top link, William Randolph Hearst.




Notice the options at the top of the page - You may email, print or save the article to your personal archive on History Study Center.


Click on My Archive at the top of the page. You can create an account and save articles on the History Study Center server (in My Archive).


Just click Create a Profile in My Archive - History Study Center does not share your email address or send you advertising!


Here are my saved articles. I can access them at any



I saved the article to my 1302 Folder in My Archive.


You also have the option to do an Advanced Search.




Some of the articles listed in Study Units are taken from journals not included in the History Study Center journal library.

We may not have access to the full text of these articles so you can un-click the box to Include all Journals and exclude book reviews and other formats.


To include these articles in your search, make sure the Include all journal articles from Study Units is checked (it will be checked by default).


Un-checking the checkbox only includes those articles listed in Study Units which are from journals contained in History Study Center's collection.


Click Show Journals to see an alphabetical list of journals in their collection.

You can also search a specific Journal title or select a number of Journals to search. Click the Journals link under Search/Browse and Select from list (in red to the right of Journal Title).


I chose Film & History and Film History and did a search for gone with the wind.

How many articles does this search bring up? Choose the number closest to your results as the number of database articles can change daily.

When you click the Cite This: icon, what citation style is the citation in?

Are you able to edit the citation?


This is my edited MLA citation for the article.

There is a newly published MLA 8th Edition Handbook and the MLA style has changed. Please ask at the library reference desk for a handout explaining the changes.

History Study Center has updated their citations to 
the new MLA style. 


We've reached the end of the tutorial...if you have questions or problems please stop by the library reference desk and ask any of the librarians for help!


You can also email me at tkarlseng@collin.edu. Please put History Project in the subject line.


Don't forget to print out the Certificate of Completion!


Happy Searching!


Please enter your name and email address to retrieve a copy of your completed quiz.

You can enter multiple email addresses separated by commas. If you are doing this for a class, you may need to enter your instructor's email address also.


What did you think of this tutorial?