Political Science 314: Navigating the Libraries

How Change Happens in American Politics
Professor: Nicole Mellow
Spring 2020
 

Search the Library Catalog

Find books, articles, & more

Choosing Keywords

Run Time: 3:45

Finding Primary Sources

When looking for primary sources, you need to consider:

  • Who would create the documents? Who would preserve the documents?
    • Who can be individuals or groups, such as local, regional, or international organizations, associations, and governmental agencies.
  • How would the documents be preserved and accessed? Would they have been
    • Formally published/produced, such as books, newspapers, magazines, films, music, court cases, etc.? You are likely to find these items in library databases.
    • Informally published/produced web documents, such as press releases, reports, policy statements, etc.? You may find recent documents through Google or the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine (going back to 1996). 
    • Personal or internal documents? If these materials were preserved, they may only be available through visiting private collections, library archives, museums, historical sites, or corporate/organization archives. A national library, public library, historical society, or university/college library may have digitized some of these materials. Interviews and oral histories produced as part of a scholarly research project are often only available from the researcher.

Browse the Libraries' Database List

Sawyer Library Stacks Directory

Call Number Floor
A-D Level 4
E-H Level 3
J-PF Level 2
PG-Z Level 1
DVDs, CDs Level 3

Note: This table is for the location of items in Sawyer stacks. There are other library locations (such as  Sawyer DVD, Sawyer Reserve, and Sawyer Reference) that also use this call number system. See library maps for further information.

How to Read a Call Number

Unlike public and school libraries, most academic libraries use the Library of Congress Classification scheme to arrange books on the shelves.

 

Read call numbers line by line:

  • First line: arranged alphabetically

  • Second line: read as a whole number

  • Third and fourth lines: arranged alphabetically, then numerically, with the number treated as a decimal

  • Last line: shelved chronologically.