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History: Home

This Guide is designed to help all library users (undergraduate and graduate students, researchers/scholars, faculty, and others identify librarians and library resources who can support them in their work.

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Introduction to the Discipline of History

According to the American Historical Association (Block Quote From this link Follows):

History is the study of the human past as it is constructed and interpreted with human artifacts, written evidence, and oral traditions. It requires empathy for historical actors, respect for interpretive debate, and the skillful use of an evolving set of practices and tools.

  • As an inquiry into human experience, history demands that we consider the diversity of human experience across time and place.
  • As a public pursuit, history requires effective communication to make the past accessible; it informs and preserves collective memory; it is essential to active citizenship.
  • As a discipline, history requires a deliberative stance towards the past; the sophisticated use of information, evidence, and argumentation; and the ability to identify and explain continuity and change over time. Its professional ethics and standards demand peer review, citation, and acceptance of the provisional nature of knowledge. (End of Quote)

Thus, history is much more than simply constructing historical chronologies or narratives – it is about examining how and why things happened and identifying and explaining how the world has stayed the same and changed over time.  Using a combination of Primary and Secondary Sources is essential to doing historical research. Primary sources allow you to access perspectives and information from the time period you are studying and secondary sources help you draw on other historical analysis to interpret those sources, and also help you to identify new angles and topics to explore.  Researching and writing history also provides important skills which can be applied beyond the academy.  It requires extensive research and reading, critical analysis in which you consider perspectives very different from your own, and effective argumentation and writing. 

Key Resources for History Research

Subject Specialists in Focused Areas of History

UCSD Library has a large group of Librarians who are specialists in different regional and subject areas of History.  These include:

Sarah Buck Kachaluba (History PhD): Latin American Studies, and  Iberian History and the History of Science

Xi Chen: Chinese Studies

Lynda Claassen: Special Collections

Harold Colson: U.S. History and Global Policy and Strategy

Jin Moon: Korean and Japanese Studies

Annelise Sklar: International Studies

Michael Smith: Jewish Studies

Other areas: History of Science


Subject Specialists in Other Areas (Communication, Environmental Studies, U.S. Government Information, Political Science and International Government Information, etc. etc.) may also be helpful.  Find a complete list of UCSD Library Subject Specialists Here.

UCSD History Department

UCSD’s History Department has Course Clusters and Faculty specializing in the following areas:



Pre-Professional (to prepare for graduate study in the following disciplines):