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Gender, Class, and Crime: the Victorian Underworld
One of the best places to start research is in the Five-College Library Catalog. All books are listed by their AUTHORS, TITLES, and SUBJECTS, and you can also use the KEYWORD function to search.
KEYWORD searching is not likely to yield a complete, or completely relevant, list of locally-owned books on any particular topic, but it's a good way to start; type in a common language characterization of your topic, say "victorian prostitution", select titles from the resulting list that interest you, note which official subject headings are assigned to those titles, then click on them to do a more thorough SUBJECT search.
SUBJECT searching, as such, requires that you use the exact words or phrases libraries have chosen to describe your topic; for example, libraries list books about prostitution in Victorian England under "Prostitution -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th century"; note the way the subject heading is subdivided. Ask at the Reference Desk if you're not sure what words or phrases to use.
Databases: Find articles, book chapters, e-books
Historical Abstracts (1955 to present)
Scholarly literature about world history since 1450 (excluding the United States and Canada).
Women's Studies International (1972 to present)
Interdisciplinary, covers the latest scholarship in feminist research.
Encyclopedia Britannica Online
Standard general encyclopedia.
Reference Books (Frost, main floor)
Reader's Guide to British History. N.Y., Fitzroy Dearborn, 2003. 3 vols.
Brief entries on significant people, events, places, themes, etc. in British history; each article has at its start a short list of further readings. (Ref DA 34 R43 2003)
Victorian Britain: An Encyclopedia. N.Y., Garland, 1988.
A one-volume work, with entries, as above, on people, events, etc., with a specific focus on the Victorian Era. Brief bibliographies are appended to each entry. (Ref DA 550 V53 1988)
Victorian Culture and Society: The Essential Glossary. London, Arnold, 2003.
Another one-volume encyclopedia, with some of the same topics as are covered in the titles above, and some unique entries, some with very short bibliographies. (Ref DA 550 R597 2003)
Bibliography of British History, 1851-1914. Oxford UK, Oxford, 1976.
A 1600-page list of readings in Victorian history, organized by themes like "Political History," "External Relations," "The Legal System," "Economic History," "Social History," etc. An extraordinary resource, though now a bit dated; update with electronic indexes. (Ref DA 530 H445 1976)