|1.||Printed or published text|
|A monograph is "a systematic and complete treatise on a particular subject" (ALA glossary of library and information science, Chicago: ALA, 1983, p.48), in one or many volumes, complete at the time of publication or published with the intention of being completed at some future date.|
||A serial is a publication that is usually published at regular, established intervals, with the intention of continuing publication indefinitely. Magazines and newspapers -- often offer the most immediate published accounts of and reactions to historical events. The important thing is to distinguish between material written at the time of an event as a kind of report, and material written much later, as historical analysis.|
||Government documents are publications issued by federal, state, municipal and international governments.|
||The minutes, reports, correspondence, etc. of an organization or agency serve as an ongoing record of the activity and thinking of that organization or agency. There are many kinds of records, such as: births, deaths, marriages certificates; permits and licenses issued; census data; etc.|
|2.||Manuscripts||Documents created by individuals, not as employees or representatives of an organization, are called manuscripts or personal papers. These documents can be either hand-written or typed, varying in length from a single note or letter to a full-length book. Include among other things: personal papers, memoirs, autobiographies, correspondence, diaries, letters, artificial collections, etc.|
|3.||Archives||Archival documents may be either personal papers or institutional archives. They could include bulletins, case files, contracts, correspondence, diaries, journals, ledgers, memoirs, memorandums, minutes, photographs, reports, rosters, and videorecordings.|
|4.||Visual Materials / Artifacts|
||single paintings, drawings, watercolors, sculpture, architectural drawings, and plans, monoprints|
||graphic art, etchings, engravings, lithographs, woodcuts, mezzotints, posters, trade cards, artists' prints, and computer-generated graphics|
||buildings, furniture, tools, appliances, household items, clothing, etc.|
|5.||Digital collections||Digital collections may have been transferred from their original format to a machine-readable form or, may exist only as electronic resources. Data may be stored on disk, computer tape, CD-ROM or from Internet sites.|
1. Where to Find?
Locating primary source materials to use in a research paper can be a daunting task. Professional historians travel widely to find all the relevant sources for a given historical topic and may spend years in repositories accumulating data for their research. Students rarely have the time or resources to go wherever the primary sources are. What can a student do?
|The Library Collection||Use the library online catalog, you can find: addresses, correspondence, diaries, documents, interviews, periodicals, personal narratives, sources, speeches, etc...|
|Online Databases||Curriculum Resource Center (CRC)/Facts on File, AccuNet/AP Multimedia Archive|
|The World Wide Web||American Memory http://memory.loc.gov/;
Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC)http://lanic.utexas.edu
|Archival Institutions||Governmental archives||
|Special collections in libraries||
2. Familiarizing Yourself with Background Information
- Reference Source
A first step you need to do to find primary materials is to familiarize yourself with the background information on your topic. Library reference collection is a great place to get started. These reference materials will give you a good overview of the topic, will outline the basic historical context, and will help you identify key issues, events, participants, dates, and even keywords needed for your research, and plan a more informed and efficient search.
Examples of Reference Sources:
- Specialized encyclopedias
- Encyclopedia of Civil War
- Latin America, history and culture : an encyclopedia for students
- Encyclopedia of Asian History
- Chronology of World Hisotry: a Calendar of Principal Events from 3000 BC to AD 1976
- The Timetables of History: a Horizontal Linkage of People and Events
- Encyclopedia of American Facts and Dates
- Biographical dictionaries and encyclopedias
- Dictionary of World Biography
- Current Biography (1940-present)
- Specialized bibliographies and guides to research
- Bibliographies in American History: Guide to Materials for Research
- Sources of Information for Historical Research
- A reference guide to Latin American history
- Specialized encyclopedias
- Textbooks and Journal Articles
Textbooks and journal articles (especially those with extensive bibliographies) and other secondary sources can provide you background informaiton and clues about the event, participants involved, as well as source of materials useful for your research.
To search for jouranl articles, use appropriate databases listed in the database page from the Library web (/sites/default/files/library/databases.htm).
For general history topics, you can use the following online databases to find articles:
- America: History & Life
- Historical Abstracts
- Project Muse
- Humanities Abstracts
- Academic Search Premier (EBSCOHOST)
Great depression and interviews
Mexican revolution and sources
World War and narratives
New Deal and documents
Dust bowl and pictorial works
Scopes trial and transcripts
4. Finding Primary Sources in Library Using Catalog
You can access the CSULA Online Library Catalog from the Library Web's main page at /sites/default/files/library _. The Cal State LA Library collection has wealth of resources for primary sources for historical research on a wide variety of topics. The Catalog allows you to conduct both basic and advanced searches, and also allows you to save or email search results.
- Searching by Subject
In order to use the Catalog to find primary sources on a subject, you must first identify the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). To determine the appropriate subject headings associated with your topic you can:
- Look in the five red volumes of the Library of Congress Subject Headings book located next to the Reference Desk, 1st Floor, Library North
- Look up the catalog record for a book that you already know about. Click on the subject displayed below the book status informatin, and do a redirect search.
- Ask a librarn or library staff member at the reference desk.
The LCSH for the Latin American history is "Latin America-History". You can use this subject heading to find library collection in Latin American history.
- Searching by Keyword
Keyword/subject searching tends to be more effective with the CSULA catalog. If you don't find results using subject search, try to do a keyword search. The general LC subheading for primary sources is "sources". However, you can append any of the keywords listed in the "Type of Materials" to specifically search for primary source materials.
Examples of Keyword searching:
Latin America history sources
Mexican revolution documents
Provides catalog access to 38+ million holdings worldwide. Includes catalog records for books, journals, films, sound recordings, videos, etc.
WorldCat is useful for locating books in nearby L.A. area libraries.
Select Doing Research --- Find books, etc. ---WorldCat
Conduct your search
Find out libraries own the item you need:
Click on a title
Click on "Libraries that Own Item"
Check the library catalog that owns the item to find out the book status (from Doing Research---Area libraries), and books can be borrowed from any local public libraries and selected college and university libraries (see Partner libraries at /sites/default/files/library/guides/partners.htm _ for detail) _
Request the item through InterLibrary Loan (/sites/default/files/library/ill3.htm) _
5. Using Periodical and Newspaper Indexes Covering the Time Period
Use periodical and newspaper index covering the time period of the events you're researching to identify contemporary accounts. These indexes are available in either print or on the Web.
of search terms:
Latin America history--bibliography
Sample Title: Latin American history since 1825
6. Identifying Popular Fiction, Movies, and Plays from the Time Period
To identify works of literature, films or popular fiction dealing with a particular event, you can consult one of the following print indexes or web site:
Fiction Catalog Z5916 .W74
Short Story Index PN6014 S56b
Play Index Z5781.P53
Internet Movie Database http://us.imdb.com
7. Using Indexes to Government
Publications generated by a government body, public records, reports and statistics such as census records, laws, Supreme Court decisions and treaties, are excellent sources of primary materials. Go to the reference desk for assistance in locating government documents related to your topic.
You can also search several indexes to government documents available on the Web from the Library Web's Government Info page (/sites/default/files/library/dbs/~gis.htm).
- Government Resources on the Library Web
- Government Information Services
- Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications
In print (1885-1976), Ref Z 1223. A18 (1st. Fl. Library North)
On the Web (1976-present), Marcive http://www.marcive.com
Cumulative Subject Index to the Monthly Catalog
In print (1900-1971), Ref Z 1223. A183 (1st. Fl. Library North)
A collection of annotated and indexed links for government information
- National Archives
Covers materials such as presidential materials, congressional records, census records, treaties, etc.
8. Searching Primary Sources on the
Many Web sites contain excellent primary resources. The scope of coverage varies for country and time period. To find primary sources on the web, you need to use a search engine and utilize similar search terms you used searching the library catalog for library materials.
Examples of search terms:
Latin American history primary sources
Mexican Revolution sources
To find a list of search engines to use, please check
the Web Search Engines page at
Selected Primary Sources Web Sites
- African American Biographical Database is an electronic collection of biographical information on African Americans from 1790-1950. It includes photographs and illustrations for African Americans, from the famous to the everyday person. The database also includes profiles and full-text sketches providing both biographical detail and illuminating narratives chronicling the lives of Black Americans.
Documents for the Study of American History comprises a list
of documents for the study of American history. It covers documents
from 15th century to present.
- American Colonist's Library: Primary Source Documents Pertaining to Early American History is an invaluable collection of historical works which contributed to the formation of American politics, culture, and ideals. Its massive collection of the literature and documents are most relevant to the colonists' lives in America.
- American Memory consists of collections of primary sources and archival materials relating to American culture and history. The site offers more than 5 million items from more than 90 historical collections including African American, Civil War, conservation movement, continental congress, farm security administration, architectural history, early motion pictures, woman suffrage, portraits of the presidents and first ladies, and more.
- The Avalon Projet Historical Documents contain digital documents relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government. It is a project at Yale Law School.
Heritage Digital Image Collection is an online archive of more
than 30,000 images illustrating California's history and culture,
from the collections of the Bancroft Library at the University of
California, Berkeley. Selected from nearly two hundred individual
collections, this unique resource uses the latest online archiving
techniques to highlight the rich themes of California's history.
The Collection is part of the
Online Archive of California, a compilation of finding aids,
or guides, to archival collections at more than 30 institutions.
- Lives, the Biography Resource
is an extensive, annotated collections of links to biographical
resources, primary biographical source material such as images,
diaries, memoirs, correspondence, interviews, oral histories, etc.,
and good biographical dictionaries.
- Making of America a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology.
America Map Archive created by the University of Oregon contains
interactive maps which show changes over time. The map collection
covers maps from Territorial Expansion of the United States 1783-1898
to slavey through 1860. It requires Shockwave Plug-in to view.
Court Decisions on Lexis/NexisFrom the Library Web's Database
page, select Lexis / Nexis. It includes full text opinions
of all Supreme Court cases since 1790. In addition, all dispositions
of cases that were appealed to the Supreme Court are included.
- United States
Historical Census Data contains census information about
people and economy of the U.S. for each state and county from 1790
- Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States is based on a paper version with the same title compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al in 1995. This version incorporates descriptive information about federal records acquired by the National Archives after the 1995 paper edition went to press, and it is regularly updated to reflect new acquisitions of federal records.
- National Archives
and Records Administration (NARA) is an independent Federal
agency, is America's national recordkeeper. It houses captured German
records, census records, Charters of Freedom, Congressional Records,
court records, Federal Regulations, genealogy, government employment
records, laws military records, presidential materials, treaties,
United States Code, etc.
- Online Archive of California
is a statewide digital resource that integrates into a single, searchable
database, finding aids to and digital facsimiles of the contents
of primary resource collections throughout California.
- Repositories of Primary Sources list over 4600 websites describing holdings of manuscripts, archives, rare books, historical photographs, and other primary sources for the research scholar. Access is by region or by an alphabetical index of state, province, or country.
Libraries / Archives / Repositories
Created by Holly Yu
Reference Librarian and Liaison to the Department of History
University Library, CSULA