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Library Guide for Searching "America: History and Life"

This guide is designed to help students use the America: History & Life database. The tutorial will include a description of America: History & Life, the use and purpose of the database, proposed search approaches, and information on how to obtain material indexed by the database.


America: History & Life indexes 1,700 history journals and magazines from 1964 to present. The database focuses on providing journal article citations, abstracts, selected full text articles, and book review citations. However, the database also provides citations to dissertations, media, and selected collected works.

Use and Purpose

America: History & Life is the most comprehensive U.S.-Canadian history journal article index provided by the NSU Library (for articles dealing with world history, see Historical Abstracts - link below). Some of the material indexed by America: History & Life will be available either in the Library's print collection or on another Library database. Some full text articles are found on America: History & Life. However, many of the items found on the database will require the use of another database, the print collection, or interlibrary loan services, which will be discussed at the end of this guide.


The default search screen on America: History & Life provides is the "Advanced" search screen and it provides a variety of powerful tools which can be used to more closely zero in on a topic (see the below screenshot).

Default Search Screen is the Advanced Search Screen

There are many options and features available on the Advanced Search screen (on the left here). These features can be used to broaden or narrow a search with the use of the field search options. Searches can also be more focused by limiting the publication year(s) to be searched, or by restricting the historical time period being researched. Other features can be used to limit the search results to a particular journal, or to restrict the search results to full text or linked full text only. However, before limiting the search results to full text only, remember that many of the citations contained in "America: History & Life" are not accompanied by full text articles. (Below is a screenshot of the Advanced Search screen limiters options.)



Advanced Search Screen Limiter Options

Finding items indexed by America: History & Life that are not available on the database in full text:

Nearly any article indexed by American: History & Life can be obtained in full text through one of the following steps:

  1. Some articles found on America: History & Life are available in full text on the database.
  2. Some articles not found on America: History & Life in full text can be obtained by using the "Linked Full Text" option on America: History & Life's Advanced Search screen (see illustration to the right).
  3. If neither of the above options are available for retrieving the full text of an article, the item may be available in full text on another database. To find out if a library database provides an article in full text, search the periodical title (not article title). From the library home page select the tab E-Journals by Title search (see the link below) and use the "Starts with" search box.
  4. If none of the above approaches retrieve the article in full text, check the periodical title in the online catalog (see the link below) to see if the library owns a paper or microform copy of the item.
  5. If none of the above approaches work for obtaining the article in full text, then Interlibrary Loan services can request the article from another library at no cost to you (see the link below). One key to using interlibrary loan services successfully is to start your research early so that interlibrary loan requests will arrive in time. It may take more than a week to obtain material through interlibrary loan. When requesting a publication through interlibrary loan, be sure to provide as much of the citation as you can.

Contact the Subject Librarian for the Department of History: SophiaBeverley Threatt (