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How to Find Books

General Books

Middleton Library's collection of books about Latin American and Caribbean History is seachable in the online catalog and via Discovery (a "one-stop shopping" service that searches the catalog, many databases and online resources that the LSU Libraries subscribe to, and the Hathi Trust Digital Library, a collection of 11 million digitized books from more than 50 major research libraries).

Rare Books

Special Collections in Hill Memorial Library also has many books about Latin American and Caribbean History. To limit your search to Special Collections in the catalog, use the advanced search feature and select Hill Memorial Library under the library tab. If using Discovery, select "Special Collections" under "Location." This can be a good way of finding primary sources, since many of the books in Special Collections are first-hand accounts of historical events. Although the Special Collections shelving areas are not open to the public, you can browse virtually by finding a book relevant to the topic of your research and clicking "nearby items on shelf" in the catalog record.

Separate guides to published materials in Special Collections are available for some topics, including Latin American History, Caribbean History, Antislavery Literature, and Proslavery Literature. Included among the collection are facsimiles of a number of pre-Columbian codices.

Reference Books

If you are looking for a quick introduction to a subject, a reference book can be a great place to start. Although some encyclopedias only contain very short articles, subject-specific encyclopedias provide more in-depth information. Also try reference works like the Cambridge Histories Online or the Oxford Companions, which contain scholarly essays written for general readers. Many of these resources are available online in the History Reference Center (LSU logon required). You can limit your search to encyclopedias or reference books under "Publication Type."

Other Book Resources

To search for books in other North American and (to a limited extent) Latin American and European libraries, try WorldCat.  You may have better results in searching Latin American and Caribbean libraries by going to the individual library catalogs. The Latin American Network Information Center provides a comprehensive list of the major libraries of Latin America.

One of the largest collections of books and archival materials in the U.S. related to Latin America is located in nearby New Orleans at Tulane University’s Latin American Library.

How to Find Articles
The easiest and most efficient way to search for scholarly journal articles, essays, and introductory encyclopedia articles related to Latin American and Caribbean History is to use Discovery. This "one-stop shopping" service searches the catalog as well as many databases and online resources that the LSU Libraries subscribe to.  Use the advanced search to limit your search to scholarly journals.

You can also search individually through the following full-text article databases and indexes that Discovery searches. Click each link to learn more.

History Reference Center -- primarily reference books
America: History and Life -- more than 200 journals on U.S. and Canadian history
C19: Nineteenth Century Index -- full-text access to many 19th-century publications
JSTOR  -- includes more than 300 academic history journals
Project Muse -- 6,000 full-text History books and journals
Web of Knowledge -- includes the Arts & Humanities Citation Index
Ingenta -- 169 History publications, mostly journals
PAIS International -- for articles on world history; many not in English

How to Find Archives / Manuscripts

The Latin American Network Information Center provides a comprehensive list of the major archival collections in and related to Latin America.

Repositories of Primary Sources is a directory of over 5,000 archives websites worldwide. It includes a list of repositories in Latin America and the Caribbean.

You can find archives / manuscript collections in U.S. and some European repositories by searching in the databases below:

Archive Finder
Archive Grid
WorldCat (use Advanced Search and limit type to Archival Materials)

Be aware that although they overlap to some extent, each database has material not in the others.  Also keep in mind that records are brief and do not list every single item or person referred to in the collection.  You may have to contact the archive and see if they have a more detailed finding aid or inventory. 

Also be aware that many institutions have not fully cataloged their holdings, and some repositories, especially small historical societies and private or business archives, have not reported their holdings to these databases.  Sometimes the best thing to do is a simple web search.

The largest local archive of Latin American materials is at Tulane University’s Latin American Library. A smaller selection of materials related to this region is available in the LSU Libraries’ Special Collections.

Selected Digital Resources


The largest open-access (free) digital libraries are Google Books, the Hathi Trust Digital Library, and Europeana. All contain materials related to Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

There is a growing number of digital libraries specifically devoted to Latin American and Caribbean materials. An extensive list is available from the Johns Hopkins University Libraries.

Many historical Latin American and Caribbean newspapers have been digitized.  See:

List of Online Newspaper Archives
Historical Worldwide Newspapers on the Internet
Historical Newspapers Online

The David Rumsey Map Collection has over 45,000 maps and images online. The collection focuses on rare 18th and 19th century maps of North and South America.

Topic-specific open-access digital resources from the LSU Libraries' list of databases:

The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record
Handbook of Latin American Studies


Fuente Academica
Full-text access to more than 200 scholarly Spanish-language journals.

European Views of the Americas: 1493 to 1750
Bibliographic database of more than 32,000 entries.

Caribbean Literature
Although devoted to 19th- and 20th-century fiction, the materials may provide insight into historical events.

Still need help?
If you are new to historical research, see the "Basic Tips for Beginners" on the general subject guide to History.

For one-on-one research assistance, please feel free to contact the History Subject Librarian, Michael TaylorYou can also call the Middleton Library Reference Desk at (225) 578-8875 or the Hill Memorial Library (Special Collections) Reference Desk at (225) 578-6568.

Subject Specialist
Picture: Michael Taylor

Michael Taylor
Assistant Curator of Books
Tel: 578-6547

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