I had a pretty humble beginning in government documents. In June 1993, I began work as a documents clerk at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). UTSA was enlightened enough to send a paraprofessional to the local government documents users group. It was there that I first met Kathy Amen, the author of today’s ALA GODORT Handout Exchange guide and someone I consider to be both a mentor and friend even though we don’t keep in great touch.
Government Information in the Study of History (Kathy Amen, St. Mary’s University, 2003)
makes it’s purpose clear with this intro statement:
This set of guides has 2 purposes:
* to identify historically significant materials in the Blume Library documents collection, housed on the main floor of the Library
* to provide convenient access to government (and related) web sites of interest to the historian and history students
Therefore, each of the guide’s sections is subdivided into
* annotated listings of the Library’s print holdings (with online versions noted if they are available)
* major web-based resources
* references to relevant links in our Government Information on the Web Subject Index, as an aid to finding more detailed online information.
Those guide sections would be: General, Archaeology, Archives, Area Studies, Biography, Institutions, Military, Places, Science/Technology, Social/Labor, and Sources. In addition to browsing these pages, a search is available.
Some of the many resources that Kathy identifies in the area of history are:
- Honor Bound: The History of American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia, 1961-1973 (D 1.2:H 75/3). This volume draws upon research in official records, published literature and interviews with former POW’s to chart the history of those taken prisoner during the Vietnam conflict.
- Built in America: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record. This collection, part of the Library of Congress’ American Memory project, “document achievements in architecture, engineering, and design in the United States and its territories through a comprehensive range of building types and engineering technologies.” The website includes drawings, photographs, narrative descriptions, etc. You may search by keyword or browse by subject or location.
- Bibliography of the History of Medicine. (HE 20.3615:). Annual. 1964-1993. Covers articles, monographs, and conference proceedings world-wide. One section contains references to biographical information on the medical histories of famous persons, medical aspects of artistic works, and biographies of those in health related professions. A second section indexes references by subject, subdivided, where appropriate, by geographical or chronological headings. There is a detailed contents list of subject headings which includes cross references.
- Famous American Trials. Many, though not all, of the trials covered on this site developed by a law professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City were held in the U.S. Information given includes links to official documents, background and analytical studies, contemporary and later reactions, maps, photographs and other illustrations as relevant.
- Guide to the Research Collections of Former Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1789-1987. ( Y 1.1/2:13872). Identifies repositories of papers, oral history tapes and tape transcripts.
Check out the rest of the guide. I know I say this in every entry, but it is particularly true here. Kathy’s guide is extensive and has many subtopics, so you really need to browse it awhile to get a sense of what’s available.
Once you’re done, take a break. Then see what other topics are available. And if you are a documents librarian with a guide, please add your guide to the wiki!
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