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Conducting Research Using Internet Resources

For individuals who are interested in conducting archaeological or historical research, but do not have ready access to a college or university library, there are many resources available on the internet to aide in research.  For example, using Google Book Search you can search and preview millions of books from libraries and publishers worldwide online.  In fact, many of the books present in the bibliographies on our web page have undoubtedly been digitized and are available online.  It should be noted that in some cases books are available only as previews and just portions of the books can be viewed.  The full text version can be downloaded and printed or viewed as text only.  Of particular use to researchers, it is possible to conduct a word search of the full text versions to determine if a particular person (e.g., Edmund Guerrier, Dutch Bill), place name (e.g., Wolf Creek, Camp Supply), or topic (e.g., Indian trader, buffalo hunter) is mentioned anywhere in the text of that book.

To use this online resource follow these steps: 1. Highlight the title of a book from one of the bibliographies, 2. Press Ctrl + C or Copy from edit drop down menu to copy the title of the book, 3. Go to, 4. Paste the title of the book in the book search box by pressing Ctrl + V or Paste from the edit drop down menu, and 5. Lastly, click on “Search Books”.  If the book has been digitized and is available online it will show up on the search results list.  Following these steps I was just able to find full text versions of Cheyenne Stream Names and The Fighting Cheyennes by George Bird Grinnell, Three Years among the Indian and Mexicans by Thomas James, and the Wolf Hunters: A Story of the Buffalo Plains by Robert Morris Peck on Google Book Search.  You can also try the above search to locate digitized versions of old magazine articles or manuscripts using Google.

If you fail to locate a particular reference using either of these internet resources you still have other options.  First, you can contact a local library and see if they can obtain the book through interlibrary loan.  You can also check with an online bookstore, such as Amazon, Alibris or Abe Books, to see if the book is available and simply purchase the book.  Oftentimes, you can purchase many of the books present on the CAR bibliographies for less than $10.  A word of warning, however, buying books online can become very addictive! 

Another alternative for obtaining journal articles is to contact a state agency, such as the Kansas State Historical Society, the Oklahoma Archeological Survey or the Texas Archeological Research laboratory (go to our Links page to contact these agencies), and see if they would be willing to copy the article for you.  These agencies are very helpful, and very busy, but they will often copy articles for you for the cost of copying and postage.  Likewise, you can also contact university libraries and inquire if they have a student that would make copies of journal articles for you. 

Lastly, if all else fails you can travel to any of the above places and copy the article yourself.  If visiting a university library, locate a librarian at the help desk and tell them that you are looking for a certain book or journal (be sure to have the complete reference with you).  They will usually help you find what you are looking for.  Bear in mind that these people are used to dealing with individuals that are not familiar with university library systems, so do not feel intimidated or embarrassed to ask for help


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