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Research Guides

History of Science and Medicine: Finding Books and Articles

Starting points and usage tips for finding materials related to the history of science and medicine in Special Collections.

Starting Points & Top Resources

Beyond Special Collections History of Science and Medicine holdings, conducting broader searches in UW Libraries Search, bibliographies, and history of science and medicine journals and databases can provide you with starting points for your research and help you locate keywords to search in Special Collections' holdings.

Find History of Science & Medicine Articles

Search HSTM

History of Science, Technology & Medicine (HSTM) is the best database to use when looking for secondary sources -- scholarly journal articles, books, and dissertations -- in the history of science, medicine and technology. 

Link your search terms using the AND connector. For example: typhoid and epidemic and yakima. On the search results screen, use the options on the left toolbar to narrow your search results. To find the fulltext of the article (if not provided directly in the database), click on the "Check for Full Text" button and work your way through the screens. Not all articles will be online, some may only be in print, others may not be available at the UW. 

Search PubMed History Subset Only

Covers Medline 1950-current. Limit your subject search using the "history" subheading (e.g., "nursing/history [MESH]" retrieves articles in the history of nursing.

MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) are used in PubMed to retrieve better results. For a tutorial on how to use MeSH subject headings, click here for an introductory video.

Other Journal Databases

History of Science & Medicine Journals

Using Subject Headings

The history of science and medicine is a broad and deeply interdisciplinary field. As a result, narrowing down results in a keyword search may prove challenging.  You will likely have to draw upon several different disciplinary databases, and may call for  flexibility in using subject headings. For example, searching for the Seattle Flu Pandemic in 1918 may require "Spanish Flu" in a history database, but may require "H1N1 Influenza Virus" in a medical database.

Entering multiple keywords or subject headings in the advanced search tool can yield more relevant results.

Using the limiter for the time period in the search result's left side bar, rather than typing years as keywords, may also retrieve more results.

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Bibliographies can provide you with starting points for your research, consulting them on subjects and time periods can give you references to look up in the catalog.