Memoirs, speeches, writings, or correspondence of a person can be found by doing an author search in library catalogs using the name (enter the last name first) of the person. Author searches can also be used for governments, organizations, and corporations.
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 subdivisions that indicate the item is a primary source include:
Sources: collections of contemporary documents and writings
Description and Travel: includes travelers' accounts
Using an Advanced Search you can combine keywords for your topic with the Subject subdivisions mentioned above.
To search by title, you need to have a known title in mind. Bibliographies can help identify relevant titles. See the Reference Sources portion of the research guide for suggestions, and consult the bibliographies from class readings and the secondary sources you find in your research.
When you find relevant items in library catalogs, look to see whether the item is part of a series. Search on the series title and a keyword for your topic to see if there are other relevant items published in that series.
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 library catalogs 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
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