Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
What is a background source?
Background sources are written for a general audience and are intended to give an overview of a topic, fill gaps in the reader’s knowledge, and provide context for deeper understanding. Examples include Wikipedia, introductory textbooks, and reference works such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks. They can be a useful place to start your research and can assist in selecting a topic for a research project, locating basic information and key facts, defining important words and concepts, and getting suggestions for additional sources to consult.
Typical characteristics of background sources:
- intended to be informative
- provide context, background, or summary information
- present shared information and established facts; information is uncontested
- offer suggestions for additional sources of information on the topic
Handbooks & Encyclopedias
Encyclopedia of American Indian History by
Publication Date: 2007-07-23
This new four-volume encyclopedia is the most comprehensive and up-to-date resource available on the history of Native Americans, providing a lively, authoritative survey ranging from human origins to present-day controversies. The index provides a strong record of alternate names for tribes and events.
50 Events That Shaped American Indian History by
Call Number: E77 .A125 2017
Publication Date: 2016-12-05
This powerful two-volume set provides an insider's perspective on American Indian experiences through engaging narrative entries about key historical events written by leading scholars in American Indian history as well as inspiring first-person accounts from American Indian peoples.
Handbook of North American Indians by
Call Number: E76.2 .H36
Publication Date: 1978-2008
An encyclopedia summarizing knowledge about all Native peoples north of Mesoamerica, including cultures, languages, history, prehistory, and human biology, is a standard reference work for anthropologists, historians, students, and the general reader. Leading authorities have contributed chapters to each volume. Area volumes include separate chapters on all tribes.
Encyclopedia of American Indian Issues Today by
Call Number: E76.2 .E527 2013
Publication Date: 2013-04-02
This essential reference examines the history, culture, and modern tribal concerns of American Indians in North America.
Encyclopedia of the American Indian Movement by
Call Number: E98.T77 J63 2013
Publication Date: 2013-04-09
A vivid description of the people, events, and issues that forever changed the lives of Native Americans during the 1960s and 1970s--such as the occupation of Alcatraz, fishing-rights conflicts, and individuals such as Clyde Warrior. Draws connections between activities in the 1960s and 1970s to outcomes today, such as a ban on Navajo uranium mining, development of reservation infrastructure, and reclamation of many Native languages.