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Tang and Song Dynasties-Dr. Spector-Marks and Dr. McCain  

What factors made the Tang and Song dynasties a Golden Age for China?
Last Updated: Sep 18, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Getting Started

The Edith Hamilton Library has a good selection of print and electronic resources for you to use for the assignment on the Tang and Song Dynasties.  For this assignment you will focus on locating information in secondary sources-- primarily books. This guide will help you to get started.  

   You can access most of the library's digital resources from home. Before doing so follow these directions:       

  •    1.You must first enable access to this service through your Bryn Mawr Google account.
  •    2.Please click here and check “Turn On."  This is  a one-time step and you will not need to do it in the future.
  •    3.Next, simply click any database link here.
  •    4.Enter your Bryn Mawr Google account information (ex: and click Login.

What is a Secondary Source?

A secondary source addresses or analyzes events, people, works, or topics after the fact, unlike primary sources which provide firsthand accounts. Examples include:

  • Newspaper articles
  • Journal and magazine articles
  • Reference books, such as general and specialized encyclopedias, and chronologies.
  • Books

For this assignment you will be searching for books, or chapters and sections in books, in both print and electronic formats.

Formulate a Search Strategy

Take a few moments to jot down some terms to use when you search. For example, if you are interested in finding a book on printing in the Song Dynasty you might write down:

Song Dynasty

Printing and China

China and history

When searching for books in the catalog keep your searches general in scope. 

Look for Reference Books

It might be helpful to consult a reference source to locate some basic information about the Tang and Song Dynasties when beginning this assignment. Reference sources frequently provide background information or context for a topic, but they can also direct you to other sources. They can be subject-specific encyclopedias, bibliographies, atlases, chronologies or biographical sources. You have two options for locating reference sources:

1. You can use the Gale Virtual Reference Library, which is a collection of electronic reference books. Depending on which direction you choose, you might find only basic information about your topic. Sometimes, however, you will find an extensive article about your topic. 

2. You can perform a search in the Edith Hamilton Library Online Catalog. Here you will find reference books as well monographs. 


Look for Books (Monographs)


Books are important because they provide an in-depth treatment of your topic.  You might find find chapters and sections in books that are more general in scope. For example, you might locate a book called  The Open Empire:A History of China to 1800. If you look at the Table of Contents and the Index, you will find sections on various aspects of the Song and Tang Dynasties.

1. Perform a search in the Edith Hamilton Library Online Catalog to locate books in the Edith Hamilton Library

2. Ebrary Academic e-Book Collection is a large collection of academic books which can be downloaded to your device.


Search World History in Context

World History in Context Is a database that includes reference articles, primary sources, magazine articles and more.  It can be a great starting point for your research.  We will talk in depth about searching in databases when you begin working on your research papers next Spring.

The Reserve Shelf

Once you locate print books we will place many of them on Library Reserve. (Remember, there are five sections of history, so some of you will be looking for the same books!) This means that the books are kept in a special place in the library, may only be taken out over night, and must be returned the next morning before 8:00 a.m. The reserve shelves are in front of Ms. Hruban's desk, and under Ms. Rickert-Wilbur's office window. 

Footnotes and Citations

The Upper School History Department uses The Chicago Manual of Style for writing research papers. The Library has a copy of CMS in hard copy. You can also consult the websites below for style questions.  Dr. Spector-Marks, and Ms. Rickert-Wilbur have created google docs with examples of bibliographic form and footnotes which are listed below.

The Chicago manual of style.    
   [ Book ]   Call #: 808.027 C   
  Published 2010

Purdue OWL: Chicago Manual of Style 16th Edition 

Purdue Owl Style Poster/Guide

The Chicago Manual of Style Online



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