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HIST 395: Controversial Histories

Professor Bill North - Fall 2016

What is a primary source?

There's no one thing! Try advanced searches in Catalyst for subjects like: biography [also use for autobiographies], newspapers, "personal papers" [use for archival material], correspondence [use for letters], personal diaries, photographs, videos, interviews, pamphlets, artwork, sources [a common one!], and many other types of things!

Finding Books

All Formats

Once you've run your search, you can narrow your results by location or format, or many other options

Find Books at Other Libraries

Books and more from other libraries

Request books you find on WorldCat using the "Request Via Illiad" links.

Search A Library Catalog

Online catalogs contain records for books, periodicals, and newspapers, and other materials that serve as primary sources for historical research.

  • Conduct author searches in Catalyst and WorldCat for people, institutions, and organizations important to your topic.

Example) AU: Franklin, Benjamin yields Benjamin Franklin's autobiographical writings

  • Conduct word searches in Catalyst and WorldCat combining terms that describe your topic with LCSH terms that typically indicate something was published as a primary source:
    • correspondence
    • diaries
    • interviews
    • pamphlets
    • periodicals
    • personal narratives
    • sources
    • Early works to 1800

Example) KW: War, Women, Sources yields: Writing the siege of Leningrad : women's diaries, memoirs, and documentary prose

  • Search for your topic by subject or word, then limit your search or sort your search results by publication date to find those that were produced during the era in which you are interested.


SUBJECT: Europe -- History -- 1648-1715 yields Breaches and contraventions of France since the peace of Nimiguen

SUBJECT: Ireland -- Economic condition yields Great-Britain's commercial interest explained and improved [microform] : in a series of dissertations on the most important branches of her trade and landed interest, with an essay, shewing the great advantages which would certainly accrue to England, from an union with Ireland ; also a clear view of the state of our plantations in America, their constitution, trade, and revenues, with a certain method to encrease their commerce and strength.