American politicians, and Americans themselves, love to call themselves "a nation of immigrants": a place where everyone's family has, at some point, chosen to come to seek freedom or a better life. America has managed to maintain that self-image through the forced migration of millions of African slaves, restrictive immigration laws based on fears of "inferior" races, and nativist movements that encouraged immigrants to assimilate or simply leave.
But while the reality of America's immigrant heritage is more complicated than the myth, it's still a fundamental truth of the country's history. It's impossible to understand the country today without knowing who's been kept out, who's been let in, and how they've been treated once they arrive.
37 Maps That Explain How America Is A Nation of Immigrants. Article, by Dara Lind appearing in Vox, January 12, 2015.
Try the MSU Library Ask a Librarian Service available via chat, IM, email, phone, and in person at the reference desk.
Don't know where to start? Beginning in the Fall Semester 2014, the MSU Libraries is offering a discovery layer or interface called SearchPlus. SearchPlus pulls together a large number of databases (including the Library Catalog) into a unified search engine, increasing one's chances of finding results by keyword or phrase. Whenever possible, links are provided directly to the online source identified.
So this is a great tool for undergraduates not knowing where to start. It is also a good starting point for graduate students and faculty looking for materials outside their established silos. Once you do a search; note how SearchPlus offers a large number of facets on the left side to refine your search.
SearchPlus is a starting tool. Advanced researchers will still want to explore more deeply in specialized databases, particularly those that are not covered by SearchPlus.
Use the following databases to find articles and other research on immigration, ethnicity or race. For a more extensive list of databases (and electronic resources) available in the MSU Libraries, go to the Electronic Resources page.
The two main article databases for history are Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life. One or the other of these databases is usually the best starting place to search for scholarly articles in English on topics in history.
America: History and Life covers articles, book reviews, and dissertations on all periods of North American history published since 1964, and in some cases it provides links to the full text of the articles online. Historical Abstracts covers articles, book reviews, and dissertations published since 1954 on all aspects of world history, excluding North America, from 1450 to the present.
Expanded Academic ASAP (1980 to date). Provides coverage of 3,000 indexed and 1,900 full-text titles in a wide variety of disciplines including: social science journals, humanities journals, science and technology journals, national news periodicals, general interest magazines, newswires, The New York Times and many others. More than 1,400 journals are peer reviewed, and more than 20 years of backfile coverage are included. Check out the browse subjections section for all the entries starting with African American!
JSTOR. Searchable database of the full text of journals covering a wide array of academic topics including anthropology, Asian Studies, ecology, economics, education, finance, history, literature, mathematics, philosophy, political science, population studies, and sociology. Years available vary with each title, but the most recent issues available in JSTOR will normally be 4-5 years old due to embargoes from publishers.
Periodicals Archive Online (1770-1995) is a database of millions of articles published in the arts, humanities and social sciences, across more than 300 years, by Proquest. Covers more than 3,000 journals.
Project Muse. This database provides access to two hundred humanities and social science journals from 29 not-for-profit, scholarly publishers. Years offered by each journal vary but usually are only the most recent issues. Muse is a unique collaboration between the participating publishers and the Milton S. Eisenhower Library at the Johns Hopkins University.
Proquest Research Library (indexing: 1971 to date; full-text: 1991 to date). Provides online access to an extensive collection of published material. You can search for information in thousands of different journals, periodicals, dissertations, newspapers, and magazines. Complete articles -- in full text, page image, or UMI's unique Text+Graphics format -- are available for many of the most popular and important sources. Provides full text coverage of over 400 journals. However, full text coverage varies by date from journal to journal.
Social Sciences Full Text (EBSCOHost)
Google Scholar, current. Google has created this database to speed location of reports and journal articles available on the Internet. Google is also working hard on facilitating links to subscription resources offered by university libraries. However not all the links work yet. So if you find an interesting article or resources via this database, be sure to check whether it is available via the MSU Libraries electronic or print collections.
Alt-PressWatch (Proquest). Full-text database of selected newspapers, magazines and journals of the alternative and independent press. Coverage complements the reporting in the mainstream press. Also listed under Newspapers.
Ethnic NewsWatch (Proquest). An interdisciplinary, bilingual (English and Spanish) and comprehensive full text database of the newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press. Designed to provide the "other side of the story," ENW titles offer additional viewpoints from those proffered by the mainstream press. Coverage varies by paper, but goes as far back as 1960 for some publications. Also listed under Newspapers.
America History and Life (1964 to date). Provides access to the citations of articles (and in some cases, the full text of articles), book reviews, and dissertations in American and Canadian history. Note : Access limited to 6 simultaneous users.
Communication and Mass Media Complete. Provides indexing and abstracting for more than 600 publications, and includes selected full-text coverage for more than 240 journals in communications, mass media, and related fields. Topics include (among many others) health communication, gender and communication, communication theory, and mass media.
Criminal Justice Abstracts (1968 to date). Contains hundreds of in-depth abstracts of current books, book chapters, journal articles, government reports, and dissertations published worldwide. Also offers extensive coverage of new books from scholarly and commercial publishers and valuable reports from public and private agencies in many nations. For each document, a summary of the finding, methodology, and conclusions is provided. Topics include crime trends, prevention projects, corrections, juvenile delinquency, police, courts, offenders, victims and sentencing.
Proquest Congressional. Provides users with efficient, targeted access to the most comprehensive collection of historic and current congressional information available anywhere online. This collection includes the full text of congressional publications (including hearings, reports, and documents), finding aids, a bill tracking service, and the full text of public laws and other research materials to enable both novice and experienced researchers to complete many types of research projects using a single, user-friendly interface. Since Congress is interested in all public policy, social, and economic issues, the database is an effective source for general research in many academic disciplines, in addition to research related to specific legislative proposals and laws. Note: not everything identified in this database is available full-text; however with the citation we can track down the items for you.
PAIS International (including Archive (1915 to date.) Indexes selected books, government documents, and periodical articles on contemporary public issues and the making of public policy. Note: try African Americans, Blacks, events, etc.
PsycInfo (including PsycArticles) (1887 to date). Contains summaries of the world's journal literature, of dissertations and technical reports, and of English-language chapters and books in psychology and related disciplines. Covers over 1300 journals in over 30 languages from approximately 50 countries. No full text content within PsycInfo, but there are links to full text in other databases, including PsycARTICLES. Also includes psychology articles from related disciplines such as sociology, linguistics, education, medicine, law, physiology, business, psychiatry, and anthropology.
Race Relations Abstracts (EBSCO). : Race Relations Abstracts includes bibliographic records covering essential areas related to race relations, including ethnic studies, discrimination, immigration studies, and other areas of key relevance to the discipline. The index contains more than 49,500 records, which are carefully selected from the most important sources within the discipline, such as: Race & Class, Ethnic & Racial Studies, Journal of Social Issues, etc. EBSCO has digitized the full archive of this index, bringing coverage back to 1975.
Sociological Abstracts (1952 to date). Provides access to the latest research in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. Includes citations (and abstracts since 1974) for articles in over 1,500 journals. Draws information from an international selection of journals, serials, conference papers, books, and dissertations. Note: try African Americans, Black Americans, etc.
Web of Science. Indexes science, social sciences, and arts and humanities information from nearly 9,300 of the most prestigious, high impact research journals in the world. Note: you can restrict your search to the Science Citation Citation Index (1900 to date) , the Social Sciences Citation Index (1956 to date), or the Arts and Humanities Citation Index (1975 to date).