Database Review: “America: History & Life”


America: History & Life is an index of secondary literature related to the culture and history of the United States and Canada. The database itself can include the text and sometimes PDF of the original article but more generally provides a link to the material elsewhere. America: History & Life indexes articles from 1,700 journals dating from 1964 to the present. The database predominately includes English-language articles but also includes pieces in other languages, many of them with English-language abstracts.

The “Basic Search” searches the text of the database’s abstracts as well as their bibliographic metadata. The “Advanced Search” allows limiting searches to specific metadata fields for terms as well as changing the type of search from “Boolean/Phrase” to all the search terms, any of the search terms, or a “SmartText” search.

Date range: 1964 – present

Publisher: EBSCO Publishing

Publisher About page:

Object type: Journal articles

Location of original materials: Serial publications held by many libraries, some digital only

Exportable image?: Varies by item

Facsimile image?: Varies by item

Full text searchable?: Yes

Titles list links:

History / Provenance: The database contains abstracts of indexed articles, sometimes providing the text and PDF of the original article but more usually a link to it elsewhere. The article abstracts are owned by EBSCO but ownership of the articles’ content remains with the original copyright holder. Many of the journals America: History & Life indexes are open access.


Buchanan, Anne L., Anne L. Buchanan, and Jean-Pierre V. M. Hérubel. “Clio’s Other Photographic Literature: Searching the Historical Journal Literature using America: History and Life to Explore the History of Photography.” Art Documentation 31, no. 2 (2012): 199-209. doi:10.1086/668112.

Millard, Donna. “America: History and Life on the Web.” Reference Reviews 19, no. 3 (2005): 46. doi:

Access: Access to America: History & Life must be purchased from EBSCO, though they do offer free trials. The pricing information is not publicly available. Once purchased, access is limited to patrons of the licensees of the database.

Info from Publisher:

Citing: Only a citation of found and used articles are required. However, revealing how you found the article can be incredibly useful for researchers following your notes. Therefore, additionally including the database’s article URL is recommended.