HIST 500-600: Tools for History Graduate Students



Welcome to the Program!

Congratulations on joining the historians' scholarly community at CSUSM and beyond!

While the History Program's page for graduate students (Overview of the Masters of Arts in History at CSUSM), your graduate advisor, and thesis committee are the authoritive sources for questions pertaining to your thesis, this site has been designed to identify research sources and library functions in regards to your thesis.

Please feel free to contact me for additional help or with questions that are not answered here. I can frequently be found in the Archives (KEL 1006) rather than my office, so email or call if you are going to drop by.

With historical research, you need to keep in mind that your use of materials for your thesis can be different than a peer's use of the same materials, so there is no absolute answer in many cases. Rules, access, and resources are in constant flux meaning this information can change, so check back and ask often!

Preparatory Reading--My Recommendations

Of course, thinking about research opens the question to whether you can access materials during the summer when you may not be enrolled. Current library policy is that if you present documentation (a dated letter from a member of your thesis committee is best) that you are enrolling in the fall semester to continue your thesis work, privileges for continued access will be provided. If you enroll in Extended Studies for summer session, you are automatically granted library privileges, including Interlibrary Loan.

These titles are suggestions to supplement all the reading you will have during your breaks.

Writing history: a guide for students (REF D16 .S864 2004)

Feminist research practice: a primer (Stacks  HQ1180 .H47 2007)

The information-literate historian: a guide to research for history students (REF D16.2 .P715 2007) 

Navigating world history: historians create a global past (Stacks D21.3 .M285 2003 )

History Citations

History Citations

HIST 500-600 Chicago Citation

Chicago/Turabian Style & Citations

The Chicago Manual of Style is the preference for most history researchers, but always check with your professor before proceeding on both citation style and which version. The Notes-Bibliography system is generally preferred in Chicago-style citations, but there is also an Author-Date system. These systems use different formatting, so be sure which your professor prefers.

IMPORTANT! Late 2010, University of Chicago Press issued a new edition for this style guide. Check your resources to make sure you are being given the latest information based on the 16th edition as not all sites have updated yet. Notable changes are listed here.

Chicago may be referred to as Turabian, after Kate Turabian, who wrote a manual for students for research, writing and citing sources based on the Chicago citation style. The current version is titled A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers. The CSUSM library keeps a copy at the Research Help Desk at LB2369 .T8 2007 and a copy on permanent Reserves (Checkout Desk.)

Some helpful web sites:

Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide (University of Chicago, the publishers of the Manual, this is based on the 16th edition)

Citing Electronic Information in History Papers (U of Memphis, varies slightly from the guidelines of the 16th edition.)

HIST 500-600 Citation Generators

Citation generators are software that will format your citation by a fill-in-the-box strategy. Those available to students at no cost are listed here. There are other products with a range of prices and capabilities available for purchase.

Free does not mean perfect, so use with caution.

KnightCite (APA, MLA, Chicago) http://www.calvin.edu/library/knightcite/index.php

Son of Citation Machine http://www.citationmachine.net/

Citation Builder (NCSU) http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/citationbuilder

DocsCite (government documents in APA or MLA) http://www.asu.edu/lib/hayden/govdocs/docscite/docscite.htm


Zotero is a very useful (and free) tool for managing not only your citations, but your research materials as well. 



Copyright for Historians

You may never thought about copyright before, but EVERYTHING has been or is copyrighted.

This can impact the materials you choose to use, the access you have to materials, and your exposure to legal and ethical risk. This is especially true if you are going to create a media/technology project as part of your culminating research and has impact in your future career in using materials created by others.

Do not despair, there are laws and legal interpretations allowing certain types of use, generally under the "fair use" interpretation of the law. Being a student gives you certain freedoms, but still requires permissions and citations. So, what does this mean to you as a student researcher?

  • Be aware of copyright and citation requirements
  • Be aware of privacy issues and permissions
  • Apply the rule of "Fair Use" (see below)
  • Err on the side of caution--when in doubt, discuss with your thesis/project advisor as they have trod this ground before and comply with copyright and privacy issues as well.

Copyright Rules (this is a generalization, so always verify your particular use)

  1. United States copyright law is different than other nations' and with the advent of digital publications and formats, the rules can be vague and subject to broad interpretation. The concepts noted here are from US law and practice. 
  2. The purpose of copyright is to protect an author/creator's right to make a profit from their work. There are companies and copyright holders who will pursue their copyrights vigorously.
  3. Many works fall out of copyright 70 years after the author's death and become "public domain", but the estate may continue copyright and the number of years defined by law has varied over the years. The presentation of the information may be copyrighted, while the actual information is no longer under copyright.
  4. Keep in mind that you are not the only person who will get sued for copyright infringement--the campus and History Department can be sued as well. 
  5. Just because someone else has committed copyright infringement, doesn't mean that you may do the same. CHECK THE SOURCE and permissions!
  6. Educational use has a greater amount of freedom than for profit, but the use still must be reasonable.
  7. Rule of PANE--in order to comply with copyright, you must meet at least THREE of these criteria
  • Purpose of the use. Is this for profit or educational use in a limited environment?
  • Amount of the source material being used. Are you are using the entire document or item or a minimal portion that would not affect the sale of the item?
  • Nature of the work. Is this a list of facts? A government document? Meant as a for-profit product?
  • Effect of the new work. Will use of the material limit or prevent sales of the original work?

Highly recommended links:

How I Learned to Love Fair Use Mary Minow's site on Copyright and Fair Use in academe

Copyright Term and the Public Domain (excellent site from Cornell) 

Sample Copyright Permissions and Descriptions:

Creative Commons (licensing effort to protect author's rights yet allow broad use)

United Nations Development Programme

Internet Archive Terms of Use

Computer History Museum Terms of Use

Thesis Information

Thesis Information

Thesis History

Upon your successful thesis defense and signed approval by your committee, your thesis is added to the CSUSM Scholarworks collection in perpetuity as an Electronic Theses/Dissertation (ETD)!

To get your hard work into the collection, there are guidelines and more importantly, deadlines, from your department, the CSUSM Graduate Office, and Library:

Overview of the Masters of Arts in History at CSUSM

Library ETD Submissions Guide

CSUSM Office of Graduate Studies and Research

Masters Thesis, Project or Comprehensive Exam Information and Forms

Want to see what other CSUSM History Theses look like? Search SCHOLARWORKS >Theses, Dissertations and Graduate Research > History

Need Help?

Judith A. Downie

Special Collections and History Librarian
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Office Telephone

760-750-4374 OR 760-750-4312 (Archives)

Office Location

KEL 5010

Office Hours
By Appointment