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Foundations: Islamic Empires and Civilizations

Mongol, Delhi Sultanate, Safavid, Ottoman, Caliphate of Cordoba, and Mughal (alternate spellings: Mogul and Moghul)


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How to use NoodleTools


Encyclopedias and Reference Books / eBooks

START HERE: These resources provide essential background information - who, what, when, where, why, how

Search large collections of reference ebooks simultaneously in these databases: Gale Virtual Reference Library and Salem History. Also: Britannica Academic Online contains the complete Encyclopedia Britannica plus authoritative websites and full-text journal access. Additionally, a number of other databases contain reference articles (see Taft Online Subscription Databases below)

Books on Reserve at the Circulation Desk

(Sign out for use IN LIBRARY ONLY for duration of assignment)

Look for additional books by searching RhinoCat, the Library's automated catalog of books, ebooks, DVDs, and other library materials. RhinoCat is available from any browser at It is also accessible from your TaftNet homepage. A keyword search using a broad term will yield the most hits. TIP: When you identify a book in RhinoCat that sounds useful, open the book's full record, scroll down and click on Browse shelf to find additional books for your research project. 

Primary Sources

  • Examples of primary sources for Islamic empires include written documents, works of art and architecture, literature, and artifacts such as tools, household objects and furnishings, clothing, weapons, coins, etc.
  • A number of databases below contain primary sources, including Ancient and Medieval History Online, Daily Life through History, and World History: Ancient and Medieval History
  • Search Rhinocat for library books and ebooks containing documents by copying and pasting the following phrase into the basic keyword search, substituting your empire for xxxxxsu,wrdl: personal narratives or su,wrdl: sources or su,wrdl: diaries and kw,phr: xxxxx
  • Search Google combining the name of your empire with the phrase "primary sources" OR documents
  • Internet History Sourcebooks Project (a web project with an extensive collection of primary source documents by Paul Halsall, Fordham University) 

See the course guide Finding Primary Sources for more ways to locate documents in our library and online.

Taft Online Subscription Databases

  • Ancient and Medieval History Online Reference articles, biographies, events and topics, primary source documents, timelines, maps and charts, images and videos on eight ancient and medieval civilizations
  • Biography in Context Biographies of more than 650,000 individuals from Gale's vast reference collection as well as related full-text articles from journals, magazines and newspapers, audio-visual content, and websites.
  • Daily Life Through History (Academic)  This comprehensive collection of primary and secondary sources provides insight into the social history of societies from prehistory to the 21st-century. Includes authoritative content from more than 75 Greenwood reference works and original journal articles from prominent historians.
  • History Reference Center An Ebsco database featuring content from reference books, non-fiction books, and history periodicals
  • Modern World History Online Reference articles, biographies, events and topics, primary source documents, timelines, maps and charts, images and videos from the mid-15th century to the present.
  • World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras Authoritative primary and secondary sources, reference articles, in-depth explorations of key topics, and profiles of city-states, countries, and regions of the ancient world.
  • World History in Context Comprehensive collection of reference articles, primary documents, periodicals, maps and multimedia
  • World History: The Modern Era Covers the history of the world from 1500 to the present. Includes reference articles, media and primary source material.
  • Journal article databases
    • Academic Search Complete Access full-text articles in thousands of magazines and journals. Tip: Limit your search to Full Text, Articles, and language
    • JSTOR Extensive backfiles of full-text scholarly journals in the arts, humanities, and sciences
  • Image database
    • Britannica ImageQuest Access millions of images which are rights-cleared for non-commercial, educational use
    • See also Websites below for links to several image websites.
  • Video database


Here's an example using Safavid . Think about other terms you can swap in and out. 










You can also limit your search to reliable domains by including the phrase site:gov OR site:edu OR  (gov for U. S. government agencies; edu for educational institutions in the U.S.; for educational institutions in the United Kingdom).                                               



*For more information on finding high quality websites, see Find and Evaluate Websites.

In addition to the database Britannica ImageQuest, use these sites to find images: