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Library Guides - Primary Sources

Purpose of Guide

The purpose of this guide is to help identify common types of primary sources in the University Librariesí collections and those that are freely available on the Internet. This guide does not identify sources you would consult to find primary source material in other libraries, archives or museums.

Tips are offered on searching for:

Books with Primary Source Material

Articles with Primary Source Material

Library Databases of Primary Source Material

Magazines and Journals as Primary Sources

Microform Collections of Primary Source Material

Newspapers as Primary Sources

Popular Culture from a Time Period

Primary Sources in Digital Collections on the Web

Public Opinion Polls

Key Resource

Uncertain whom to contact? Begin with the Reference Department.
Phone: 777-4866
Email: uscref@mailbox.sc.edu

Key Collections with Primary Source Materials

Educational Films
Govt. Information, Micoforms & Newspapers
Map Library 
Music Library
Newsfilm Library
Rare Books and Special Collections
South Caroliniana Library

Center for Research Libraries
While technically not a part of USC, we are a member of the consortium and can obtain materials through Interlibrary Loan. CRL has a strong collection of publications from the ethnic press in the US as well as foreign newspapers and other primary source materials. To explore the collection by broad topic areas, consult CRL Search Collections.

Searching Strategies

Depending upon what you already know about your topic, you may be able to begin by searching the library catalog to find primary sources or you may need to look for a bibliography or guide that can describe and identify primary source material. Remember, reference librarians can help you.

Specific to Broader Terms
Search specifically and more broadly. Say you are interested in reading accounts from men who served on U-boats. You would want to search for books with primary source materials about:

German submarines

World War I

Sailors

World War II

It may take a little work to first think of the specific to broader concepts and then figure out what words the catalog uses for the authorized subject heading. For example, the authorized subject heading for World War I is World War 1914-1918 and for World War II the subject heading is World War 1939-1945.

Related, Relevant Terms
Donít expect that one search will bring up everything relevant. Suppose you were interested in the history of birth control. All of these subjects might be of interest:

birth control

human reproductive technology

contraception

abortion



Articles | Books | Digital Collections | Library Databases | Magazines and Journals | Microforms | Newspapers | Popular Culture | Public Opinion

 

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