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Welcome to Napa Valley College Library

History: Home

A guide meant to aid students in finding resources and performing research for history courses.


Red and biege banner reading "Researching History, A guide from the McCarthy Library"

Welcome to the McCarthy Library's guide for researching and writing history research papers!  You'll find resources available specifically for history and history research here, as well as links to useful websites, databases, and other publications.

Call Numbers

These are the call numbers in the library where you can find books related to history:

History books are usually all found in the 900s, which includes not just history but geography as well.

For specific subjects:

  • 930 History of ancient world to ca. 499 CE
  • 940 History of Europe
  • 950 History of Asia; Far East
  • 954 South Asia; India
  • 956 Middle East (Near East)
  • 959 Southeast Asia
  • 960 History of Africa
  • 970 History of North America
  • 980 History of South America
  • 990 History of Other Areas
  • 994 History of Australia

Primary vs Secondary Sources

In history research, there are two types of resources generally used, which you will see referred to as primary sources and secondary sources.

A primary source is any first-hand document relating to the subject or event you are researching. These can include things like letters, photographs, films, diaries, speeches, and other documentation created by people who had first hand knowledge of the history being studied.


A secondary source is any source written based on primary sources, but not authored by someone who has first-hand knowledge.  These resources can include history books written by other researchers, scholarly journals, research articles, newspaper articles, documentaries, and any other material made by someone who is not a witness.

Course Reserves

HIST 005 - History of Western Civilization Since 1500     
Course Number: 005
Course Abbreviation: HIST 005

HIST 010 - California History     
Course Number: 010
Course Abbreviation: HIST 010

HIST 017 - History of the United States to 1877     
Course Number: 017
Course Abbreviation: HIST 017

HIST 018 - History of the United States from 1865     
Course Number: 018
Course Abbreviation: HIST 018

HIST 028 - African American History to 1877     
Course Number: 028
Course Abbreviation: HIST 028

HIST 037 - Women in American History     
Course Number: 037
Course Abbreviation: HIST 037

HIST-150 - History of American Women 1600-1900     
Course Number: 150
Course Abbreviation: HIST-150