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HIST 4960: Senior Seminar

Overview and review of sources for students in History 4960

Search Terms for Primary Sources - Library Catalogs

Academic library catalogs primarily use "Library of Congress Subject Headings" to describe books and holdings. Certain words which are official LC subject terms are often used for publications that contain primary sources.

Good terms to consider when searching a "library catalog" for primary sources:

  • sources
  • autobiographies  (not an official subject heading, but used as a genre heading in OneSearch, so it should work as a search term)
  • diaries
  • letters
  • "oral history"
  • "personal narratives"
  • interviews
  • speeches
  • transcripts
  • correspondence
  • pictorial works
  • early works
  • facsimiles
  • papers
  • biography   (this will include secondary sources that are not autobiographies, so double-check before using)

Searching Catalogs for Primary Sources

Example searches in OneSearch:

Any field    contains     Abigail Adams

AND   Subject contains    sources


Any field   contains       Wounded Knee

AND Subject contains letters OR diaries OR correspondence


Any field   contains       Vietnam War

AND Subject contains "oral history" OR "personal narrative"

Library Catalogs

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