A different kind of search history
Interesting. I'm an old fart (TM), with a mixed academic background, whose undergraduate days predate the databases. I remember the (paper) Science Citation Index as being relevant even to an undergraduate. There were other materials of this basic type that were also relevant.
We didn't generally use them to dig into ancient history. But you routinely need to know the reaction to someone's convincing-seeming work, particularly if you are an inexperienced undergraduate. (Some of the so-called research being published, particularly in medical journals, was essentially rubbish, and that's probably still true. And as for the social sciences.... well, this was long before the replication crisis, but we still knew there were plenty of questionable results in the literature.) We used those paper "databases".
I use Google Scholar when doing a literature search (meteorology/geosciences). Now I'm wondering if there is a database I have been missing out on all these years.