Finding Background Information
Use Encyclopedias and other reference books to get background on a subject and help you narrow your topic. Here are a few that cover history and other areas related to your topics. For more check out our General Reference research guide.
Encyclopedia of American Urban History (Click Get this at MIT to access online. Also available in print at Rotch (HT 123 .E49 2007)
Finding Books and Reports
Books and reports can be great resources for research or to get an overview of a topic.
To find books and reports in the MIT Libraries use Barton.
Hint: Start with a keyword search using words that describe your topic.
Example: "las vegas" and history
To find books at other libraries use MIT's Worldcat. Then request the books through Borrow Direct, the BLC or Interlibrary Borrowing.
Hint: This is a great source for finding planning reports from other cities.
Finding Newspaper Articles
News publications can be a great way to research events (past and present.) You can see the conversation or debates around an issue as well as how the events unfolded. For a more complete list see our News, Newspapers and Current Events research guide.
Access newspapers, wire service report, and transcripts of television and radio programs. Coverage varies by newspaper title but in general only goes back as far as the 1980s.
Similar to Lexis/Nexis. But covers some key newspapers that aren't in Lexis/Nexis like the Boston Herald and Boston Globe. Again, coverage varies by title but generally doesn't go back before the 1980s.
Note: We have access to a number of earlier newspapers online (as far back as the 1800s.) To find them look at the Historical Newspapers on the News, Newspapers and Current Events research guide.
Finding Journal Articles
The MIT Libraries give you access to databases and journals in all subject areas. To find journal databases in specific subject areas check our Research Guides. For this class try the Urban Studies & Planning and History guides. You can also use Barton Plus to search a topic in many of our databases and Barton simultaneously. This can be a good first step in starting your research, especially if you aren't sure what subject area to start in.
Already know the name of the journal or database you're looking for? You can look in Vera to see if we have access to these online. Once you get to Vera enter the title of the journal or database in the search box.