If you know the name of an individual or an organization search it as the author in the library catalog. Type in a personal name in inverted order (last name first followed by first name). Names of organizations are entered in the direct order of the name.
Edison Thomas finds his published diary, letters, and film footage.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People finds files, reports, minutes, and periodicals.
These terms can be assigned as subdivisions to subject headings:
|anecdotes||documentary films||personal narratives|
|archives||documentary photography||pictorial works|
|biography||early works to 1800||portraits|
|caricatures and cartoons||interviews||public opinion|
|comic books, strips||notebooks||songs and music|
|description and travel||periodicals||statistics|
Examples of some keyword searches:
Subject searches on Types of Primary Sources
These terms are authorized subject headings for some formats of primary sources. The books may be about the type of primary source and/or include primary source materials.
|Advertising (to find advertisements)||Oral history|
|Autobiography||Slave narratives *|
* Consult the Library of Congress Subject Headings for references to Writings by other groups of people (examples: prisoners writings, mentally ill writings of the).
Consult a Bibliography or Guide
Have you tried all those strategies and still can’t find what you need? Take a step back and search for guides or bibliographies that could identify primary source materials. From the catalog record alone, you might not be able to tell if the guide or bibliography includes primary source material. You’ll need to look at the actual guide or bibliography.
Some examples include:
Harvard Guide to American History Reference Z1236 .F77 1974
The Female Experience in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century America: A Guide to the History of American Women Reference Z7961 .C64 1982
A Guide to the Manuscript Collection of the South Caroliniana LibraryReference and Mezzanine Z6621 .S697 also at South Caroliniana 016.091 So8g
Examples of keyword searches (be sure the catalog looks for the word bibliography in the subject by using an advanced keyword search)
Books from an Era
Perhaps your primary source material will be books published on a subject within a certain time period. You can limit your search by date of publication.
There are two ways to do this in the library catalog.
▪ Do a subject, author, call number or title search. Once you have search results you can click on the Limit/Sort Search button and you will be able to enter a range of years.
▪ Select Advanced Keyword as your search and enter the range of years as part of your initial search.
The system does NOT include the years you enter. For example, if you want to find materials published (or later reprints) from the 1870s you need to enter: