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The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Transcontinental Railroad

The Great Summit Tunnel of the Sierra Nevada-Central Pacific Railroad

The Great Summit Tunnel of the Sierra Nevada-Central Pacific Railroad

Getting Started

Begin your research by brainstorming keywords - the words and phrases you’ll use to search for books, articles, websites, government documents, and other resources. These may include names of people and places or historical concepts like eras and movements. A librarian can suggest “subject headings” to find the most relevant resources.

Example Keywords & Catalog Subject Headings

Transcontinental Railroad
Westward Expansion

Database/Online Resources

Library databases are online collections of information, organized for research. Databases contain articles, eBooks, images, maps, primary sources and more. If you don’t have a library card, register online for immediate access to these resources.The following recommended databases are available on our Research and Teen Social Studies pages.

U.S. History (Gale in Context)

Provides a complete overview of our nation’s past that covers the most-studied events, decades, conflicts, wars, political and cultural movements, and people from reference sources, full-text magazines, academic journals, news articles, primary source documents, images, videos, audio files and links to vetted web sites.

Available in library or with library card.

Internet Sources

Before using information you find on the internet for assignments and research, it is important to establish that the information comes from a reliable and appropriate source. The following websites, from government, academic and nonprofit organizations, have been evaluated for authority, accuracy, content and currency.

Library of Congress has maps, videos and first-hand accounts (primary sources) of the building/construction of the transcontinental railway system.
Part of the series, New perspectives on the West, PBS program--includes lesson plans as well as two founding documents for the settlement of the West: the Homestead Act and the Pacific Railway Act both passed by Congress in 1862.

Contact the Reference Services department for help with your research project