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History 218: Modern Japan: Primary Sources - Library Catalogs

Modern Japan
Professor Eiko Maruko
Siniawer Fall 2021

Finding Primary Sources in Library Catalogs

Use these search strategies in the library catalog, Williams WorldCat, and HathiTrust Digital Library.

Search by Title

Consult the bibliographies listed in reference sources tab and be sure to mine the bibliographies of class readings and other materials you find to identify relevant titles of primary sources.

Search by Author

Memoirs, speeches, writings, or correspondence of a person can be found by doing a Browse Search for the Author's name the library catalog. Choose Author and enter  last name / first name. 

Governing body or an organization can also be searched as an author (to find their publications) 

Search by Keyword

Using the Advanced Search screen you can combine your topic with the subdivisions mentioned above. Choose to search in the subject field to make the searches more precise.

Limit by Date

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.

Search by Subject

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 of a particular event or time period

Sources: collections of contemporary writings



Pictorial Works

Travelers' accounts