Memoirs, speeches, writings, or correspondence of a person can be found by doing a Browse Search for the author in the library catalog using the name (last name first) of the person.
Papers of organizations, government agencies, political parties, and other groups can be found by searching for the organization as an author.
Usually, library catalog records have at least one subject heading describing the general topic of the book, video, or other material. Subject headings can be subdivided to indicate further topical breakdown, geographical location, time period, or the form of the composition. Some of the form subdivisions that indicate the items is a primary source include:
Personal narratives: first person accounts
Sources: collections of contemporary writings
Pictorial Works: books that are mostly images
Using the Advanced Search you can combine your topic with the subdivisions mentioned above. Choose to search in the Subject field to make the searches more precise.
To search by title, you need to have a known title in mind. Be sure to mine the bibliographies of class readings and other materials you find to identify relevant titles of primary sources.
Remember, primary sources were written around the same time as an event or during a particular historical time period. To find contemporary writings, you can do searches in the library catalog by subject and limit to the years in question. A word of caution: this search strategy will not find materials that were reprinted at a later date.
Use the above strategies in Williams WorldCat, a database of the holdings of over 10,000 libraries around the world. Be sure to check how many libraries own the item to see how likely it might be to borrow it; if there are only a handful of libraries, it is less likely we can get it. Also note that some libraries are non-circulating collections, so we would not be able to borrow from them.
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