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Syracuse University Libraries

WRT 105: Research Starting Points Guide [Instructor, Gabriella Wilson - Fall 2021]

Core Starting Poitns - Database Best Bets

The databases or other sources and search tools that are best when researching a specific topic, event, location, person, organization or time period can vary.  In general, most students in Gabriella Wilson's Fall 2021 WRT 105 course will find several of these best bet options below helpful during their research process.

Library Starting Points Online - Fundamentals

Newspaper Databases (including City of Syracuse focus - current and historical)

Advanced SUMMON Searching

Locating Syracuse sources using Advanced SUMMON searches
Enter "Syracuse (N.Y.)",OR ALTERNATIVELY, "Syracuse University", using the subject terms search field on Summon's advanced search screen.  Other words or phrases for events, locations, persons, organizations, etc. at SU or associated with the city can also be searched using simple keyword searches in SUMMON (known as the "all fields" search).

  • Yet another powerful advanced Summon search query is to combine the “subject terms” search word Syracuse with the “subject terms” search word Pictorial
  • The Library of Congress often assigns a phrase to any books or related sources consisting primarily of images,  by assigning those items a subject phrase – called “pictorial works” - leading to online and offline collections in the library’s main collections as well as special collections. Some in WRT 105 might find a few of these specific sources of interest

Classic Catalog Subject Searching

Locating Syracuse sources using the Classic Catalog
Enter "Syracuse (N.Y.)", OR ALTERNATIVELY, "Syracuse University", using a subject heading search

City Blocks (Newhouse School Project)

City Blocks is an interesting Newhouse School based project containing profiles of Syracuse neighborhoods, and in some of its coverage may even suggest persons or community organizations connected to these areas that spark a desire to do more research in those directions. Includes historical timelines, archival images and snapshots of U.S. Census data about these neighborhoods*

*One can use other databases containing Census data available on this course guide (e.g., Social Explorer, Policy Map, Simplyanalytics, etc. to retrieve even more up to date statistics about those same areas, and for the city of Syracuse as a whole and/or Onondaga County as a whole)

Image Databases

Special Collections and Syracuse University Archives


Exploring Special Collections at Syracuse University

See the online finding aid website for collections about New York State History https://library.syr.edu/scrc/collections/areas/newyork.php OR

Enter "Syracuse" or "Syracuse University" or other search terms of interest into the "search the collections" query window at https://library.syr.edu/scrc/collections/search.php OR leave the query window blank, click search & then look to extensive lists of finding aid links at the left margin for names, subjects and subject strengths (see especially entries for Syracuse, Syracuse University and/or New York State)


SCRC: Information on visiting; 6th Floor, Bird Library- https://library.syr.edu/scrc/visit/index.php


Exploring University Archives at Syracuse University
The Archives is dedicated to preserving records that document the history, organization, policies, activities, and people of the University, and making those records available to researchers.

Additional News Databases

Additional News Databases (for national coverage of local or regional or SU campus topics, events, persons, organizations, etc.)

Scholarly Journal Articles

Databases Leading to Scholarly Journal Articles

..or select subject specific databases or content type specific databases from the library's databases A-Z list - https://library.syr.edu/databases

Other Nearby Libraries

Visiting Nearby Libraries and Archives
[calls for more time, nearby local travel and legwork to review sources often only available in physical form or on microfilm, yet can lead to excellent findings and perspectives]
Onondaga Historical Association https://www.cnyhistory.org/ - see their "visit" website -https://www.cnyhistory.org/visit/

Onondaga County Public Library -Main downtown Syracuse branch, local history collections
https://www.onlib.org/research/special-collections/local-history-genealogy