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American Women: Resources from the General Collections

Published Bibliographies

Carol M. Highsmith. [Main Reading Room. The Rotunda Clock by John Flanagan. Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.] 2007. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Would a researcher ignore a readily available list of books on her topic? Would she or he insist on repeating work that someone else had already done?

This is what people do when they neglect published bibliographies. In an age of increasing reliance on computers, people forget valuable printed reference sources. Those works, often painstakingly prepared over extended periods of time, can be a boon to historians.

Someone writing on women's education, for example, can search book catalogs, periodical indexes, dissertation abstracts,and indexes to congressional and government documents, or she can first turn to Kay S. Wilkins's Women's Education in the United States: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale Research, 1979; Z7963.E2 W53 MRR Alc), where she will find 1,134 annotated citations to materials on her subject.

Despite the drawbacks—bibliographies are always selective, cover fixed time periods, and do not exist for all subjects—published bibliographies still provide an excellent starting place for most research projects and can save much time and effort.​

Many other bibliographies exist and can be identified by using the subject headings given below.

Finding Bibliographies in the Online Catalog

To locate bibliographies on a given subject, refer to the many standard printed bibliographies of bibliographies, especially Patricia K. Ballou's Women: A Bibliography of Bibliographies (1986). Bibliographies of women's studies usually include sections useful to historians, and general U.S. history bibliographies contain references to materials on women.

Usually the subject subdivision “Bibliography” can be combined with any Library of Congress Subject Heading (LCSH) when searching the Library's catalogs. Select any link below to browse that subject in the Library's online catalog:

Selected Print Resources