A guide to the best sources for American History and World History.

What is Background Information?

Background information is particularly useful when you don't know very much about a topic. It provides a broad overview and highlights the key people and events you need to know about as you prepare to research your topic. It teaches you the language (keywords) used in the discipline. It often contains a recommended list for further reading. Background information is often found in sources described as reference works written by scholars (experts) in the field. Encyclopedias, handbooks, and historical dictionaries are good examples of reference works.

Selected Background Information in World History

Click on a title to check its availability.


Library Quick Search

Advanced Search

To find biographical information on a specific person, use Library Quick Search to search on the person's name along with the word "biography."

Example: dolores huerta biography


Try consulting a collection of biographies about well known individuals. Click on a title to check its availability.