History 229

European Imperialism and Decolonization
Professor: Shanti Singham
Fall 2018

Need Help?

Lori DuBois
History Librarian
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Search Strategies

The following strategies can be used in Williams library catalog and other library catalogs, such Williams WorldCat and HathiTrust Digital Library.   

Search by Author

Memoirs, speeches, writings, or correspondence of a person can be found by doing a Browse Search by author using the name (last name first) of the person.


Search by Subject


Usually, library catalog records have at least one Subject describing the general topic of the book, video, or other material. Subjects 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



Description and Travel: good for finding travel journals; be sure to note the birth/death dates of the author to determine whether items with recent publication dates are primary sources for your time period. 

Search by Keywords

Use the Advanced Search to combine a subject for one of the subdivisions above and keywords or subjects for a topic.

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.