History Resources

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History Resources

Postby Rick » Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:33 pm

Does anyone know of some good websites for writing questions about and/or studying history? I'm looking for something at least somewhat comprehensive, other than Wikipedia, but including wikis, databases of articles, etc. Anything that can top flipping through old packets is appreciated.
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Re: History Resources

Postby Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:47 pm

For ancient history:
http://livius.org/

For Byzantine history:
http://12byzantinerulers.com/

For primary documents of all sorts (e.g., a copy of the Athenian constitution, the actual text of the Webster-Ashburton treaty, etc.):
http://avalon.law.yale.edu/

Every State of the Union Address ever (aka, Congratulations you have an unlimited supply of lead-ins for any president!):
http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/sou.php#axzz1cOW7Z29o
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Re: History Resources

Postby NickConderWKU » Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:09 pm

Here's more information on the American Presidency:
http://millercenter.org/president

And on Roman Emperors:
http://www.roman-emperors.org/

The Library of Congress also has primary sources, especially for American cultural history:
http://www.loc.gov/index.html
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Re: History Resources

Postby The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi » Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:02 pm

I use this to find secondary sources for papers at Truman: http://www.jstor.org/

You can actually find more than history sources/commentary on here. I've searched on here for opinions on theater productions before.
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Re: History Resources

Postby Matt Weiner » Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:11 pm

Textbooks designed for upper-level undergraduate classes on "the history of England" or "the history of Russia" or so forth are great. You can find out what these are by googling for a syllabus at any university that corresponds to the area you want to learn more about.

I get great mileage out of the Rough Guide History of... series. It has lots of detailed information, and the combination of a timeline and focus boxes gives the sort of context that keeps you from making the "this guy won the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa? Must be James Monroe!" buzzes that seem to occur when people try to learn history from flashcards and lists without forming a cognitive map about when and why things happened in relation to each other.

When writing questions, start with the above sources and Britannica. There are specialized encyclopedias out there for most kinds of history, available through a university library or elsewhere. Use Google Books to find actual secondary sources if you really want to, but restrict it to things published after 1950 and make sure you aren't re-introducing crackpot nonsense. Until you know enough to evaluate sources on your own, the best guideline is to only use secondary books written by people who are history professors at accredited universities.

History, like science and religion, is an area where you want to steer clear of Wikipedia, as it tends to emphasize the wrong things and be an ideological battleground. If you want to use the "find interesting clue on Wikipedia, follow footnote and verify it in better source" method, I can't stop you, but even this is risky.
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Re: History Resources

Postby No Electricity Required » Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:14 pm

I've gotten a lot of good European history information from the Catholic Encyclopedia before that I've used for writing some quizbowl questions (as well as some AP Euro papers last year).

EDIT: Apparently you shouldn't listen to me.
Last edited by No Electricity Required on Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: History Resources

Postby Matt Weiner » Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:16 pm

No Electricity Required wrote:I've gotten a lot of good European history information from the Catholic Encyclopedia before that I've used for writing some quizbowl questions (as well as some AP Euro papers last year).


Please don't use this; the online edition is the one that was printed in 1907, so it's woefully out of date in pretty much every respect including Catholic doctrine. Great if you want to write questions about the British Raj in the present tense, though.
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Re: History Resources

Postby the charm » Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:36 pm

marxists.org is a pretty awesome place to find primary sources on anything communism related in history.
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Re: History Resources

Postby Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:59 pm

Ultimately, you will also want to just plain read books.
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Re: History Resources

Postby Masked Canadian History Bandit » Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:06 pm

The last stable version of Wikipedia articles on military history are usually helpful if it's assessed as Good, A-Class, or Featured (or at least the sources that they reference will be, since articles of that quality have decent sources). They can be great for all the trivial minutiae that goes into questions on military history.
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Re: History Resources

Postby bird bird bird bird bird » Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:16 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:Textbooks designed for upper-level undergraduate classes on "the history of England" or "the history of Russia" or so forth are great. You can find out what these are by googling for a syllabus at any university that corresponds to the area you want to learn more about.


I posted some recommendations for British history here.
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Re: History Resources

Postby Kouign Amann » Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:26 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
No Electricity Required wrote:I've gotten a lot of good European history information from the Catholic Encyclopedia before that I've used for writing some quizbowl questions (as well as some AP Euro papers last year).


Please don't use this; the online edition is the one that was printed in 1907, so it's woefully out of date in pretty much every respect including Catholic doctrine. Great if you want to write questions about the British Raj in the present tense, though.

I will mention that the "Summa," "Fathers," and "Library" tabs of New Advent are absolutely great if you ever need some primary sources about basically anything Catholic.
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Re: History Resources

Postby The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:41 am

Monocle wrote:The last stable version of Wikipedia articles on military history are usually helpful if it's assessed as Good, A-Class, or Featured (or at least the sources that they reference will be, since articles of that quality have decent sources). They can be great for all the trivial minutiae that goes into questions on military history.


Wikipedia: supplies all the trivial minutiae you'll ever need.

You have to be very careful whenever you use primary sources to write questions. For history, obviously, there's a good chance the account will be extremely biased, lack important details, make things up, etc. They can be more useful for a tossup on a philosophical essay or religious document; however, keep in mind that if you just pluck a random quote out of an essay there's no way it gets buzzed on. I would go so far as to say that you should never write a philosophy question exclusively from a primary source. It really won't tell you which ideas were picked up by later philosophers, which theses inspired important debates, which thought-experiments have become famous, etc. For an essay, you can use primary sources to find good early clues, as long as the essay spends enough time expounding on a particular idea or image that someone who has read the essay will remember it. In general, remember that nobody is actually good at quizbowl: asking people to remember individual paragraphs from Spinoza's Ethics is asking way too much.
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Re: History Resources

Postby Inkana7 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:39 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:Ultimately, you will also want to just plain read books.


Yup.

EDIT: I'll second that 12 Byzantine Rulers is pretty great.
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Re: History Resources

Postby The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi » Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:31 pm

Inkana7 wrote:
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:Ultimately, you will also want to just plain read books.


Yup.

EDIT: I'll second that 12 Byzantine Rulers is pretty great.


100 Decisive Battles is also good. I'll use that if I write any questions about battles.
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Re: History Resources

Postby Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:38 pm

Some reliable, meaty, concise online sources for US history are websites for national parks, battlefields, and other historic sites. For example, if you want to write a question on the Battle of Cowpens, http://www.nps.gov/cowp/index.htm has pretty much everything you need. And this works for biographical questions as well. Like, a famous enough person in American history probably has a historic site somewhere in the country that has a decent, reliable web presence, if not a federal historic site. And lots of non-military events such as the Seneca Falls Convention also have historic sites with good online resources. See http://www.nps.gov/wori/index.htm .

Another place that has lots of good information is the PBS website. I especially like their websites for their historic documentaries and their American Experience episodes. For example, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/introduction/james-introduction/ has a bunch of good stuff on Jesse James.

The aforementioned sites aren't usually among the first things to pop up in a search and you might have to click around a little to find the info you want, but ultimately they're a good source for information that is more or less accurate and unbiased.
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Re: History Resources

Postby No Electricity Required » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:56 pm

MickeyR0urke wrote:100 Decisive Battles is also good. I'll use that if I write any questions about battles.


That book is really nice.
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Re: History Resources

Postby Chandragupta Maurya » Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:26 pm

Just thought I'd throw this out there:
The Encyclopedia of World History by Peter Stearns (http://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Worl ... 943&sr=1-1) is an excellent resource for World History, since it covers practically everything with a fair amount of detail. It is also typeset well. It costs $90+ online, but I picked up a brand new copy for $16 at Half Price Books.
Also, I'd like to second/third any recommendations of Wikipedia, since it also covers absolutely everything in a great amount of detail.
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