Finding Primary Sources overview
Primary sources can be found in a variety of library tools:
- Catalogs: OskiCat and Melvyl
- Online book and text collections
- Primary Source databases provided by the Library
- Vetted sites on the web:
Newspapers are among the best sources for historians. How do you find out which ones Berkeley has?
- Search Oskicat by city. Ex: newspapers san francisco
- Limit the search to Newspapers & Microfilm collection
- Sort by date
- 1 minute video demo
What about other local libraries-- what newspapers do they have?
- Use Melvyl for searching other UC campuses
- Use Worldcat for searching beyond UC.
- Remember, borrowing microfilm from other libraries takes several weeks!
- Archive of Americana has a couple of newspapers from 1802 on. Full text & searchable
- Accessible Archives has several digitized newspapers from the pre-1877 period
- California Digital Newspaper Collection Daily Alta California, 1849-1891 and the Sacramento Daily Union, 1859-1890; Full text browsable and searchable database
- Historical Newspapers [Proquest]
- Use this link to see the newspapers available for browsing
Newspapers on Microfilm
Because of their fragility as they age, newspapers have traditionally been preserved by microfilming them.
Microfilm must be read on microfilm reader/printers. The Newspaper and Microfilm Room in 40 Doe Library has them. So does Bancroft Library. Newspaper films are arranged geographically within the News|Micro collection [floorplan.pdf]
Reader/printers allow you to read the films and those in News|Micro allow you to save pages to flash drives in .jpg and .pdf format.
Most newspapers do not have indexes. How do you find articles by subject? By knowing the approximate date of the event you are studying. If you don't know the date, you can use the index to a different newspaper as a way to find out.
Newspaper indexes you might want to use:
There are others. Ask the Newspaper Microfilm staff for help.
Pre-1877 US publications
Early American Imprints is a major digital collection of American publications, 1639-1800. You can search by subject words, or browse by genre, subject, author, place of publication, or language.
American State Papers A collection of more than 6,000 government publications including congressional and Executive Department materials. These papers cover the following broad subject areas: foreign relations, Indian affairs, commerce and navigation, military and naval affairs, the post-office department, and more.
American Periodical Series Online Contains digitized images of more than 1,100 periodicals. Includes special interest and general magazines, literary and professional journals, children's and women's magazines and many other historically significant magazines.
Harper's Weekly [aka Harpweek] Full-image reproductions of Harper's Weekly from its beginning in 1857 to 1912. Provides access to information about 19th and early 20th century advertising, illustrations, culture, history, literature, and notable figures.
Historical Annual Reports [of US businesses]
Of course, the library itself is full of pre-1877 US publications that you can find in Oskicat.
Nearby History Collections
- Oakland Public Library's Local History collection
- San Francisco Library history collection- printed materials
- San Francisco Library history collection- manuscript materials
- Online Archive of California- on online directory of archives in California, with some digital content, but mostly archival finding aids