The library has created a guide to searching for primary sources in Oskicat, including the best search terms you can use.
This is a list of a few of the many primary source databases in US History, in addition to Oskicat. more
Historical Newspapers (ProQuest)
Indexes articles from Chicago Defender (1905-1975), Chicago Tribune (1849-1986), Los Angeles Times (1881-1986), New York Times (1851-2004), San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922), Wall Street Journal (1889-1990), and Washington Post (1877-1991).
One stop shopping for U.S. congressional publications. Provides index and abstracts of congressional publications back to 1789, including full text Congressional Hearings from 1824-present, full text Committee Prints from 1830-present, full text Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports from 1916-present, full text United States Congressional Serial Set from 1789-1969, and legislative histories from 1970-present. For more information on how to find hearings, consult the Congressional Tutorials homepage
Includes Associated Press's current-year photo report and a selection from a 50-million image print and negative library dating from 1844-present. Currently contains about 700,000 photos, most of which are contemporary images made since late 1995.
Readers' Guide Retrospective
Covers more than 500 leading American magazines and journals from 1890 to 1982.
Nation Digital Archive
Full text access to The Nation, a weekly news magazine covering U.S. politics and society since 1865.
Digital National Security Archive (DNSA)
Indexes over 35,000 declassified documents spanning fifty years of US national security policy. Also includes a chronology, glossary of names, events, special terms, and a bibliography for each collection developed around a specific event, controversy, or policy decision.
DDRS (Declassified Documents Reference System)
Over 75,000 documents and almost 500,000 pages of materials declassified via the Freedom of Information Act and regular declassification requests, making broad-based and highly targeted investigation of government documents possible. Nearly every major foreign and domestic event of these years is covered.
The Bancroft Library
The Bancroft Library is one of the treasures of the campus and one of the world's great libraries for the history of the American West.
How to Use The Bancroft Library
1. Be prepared! Read secondary sources and know something about your topic before you ask for help.
BEFORE YOU GO: Search OskiCat! if the item is in storage ("NRLF") and owned by The Bancroft Library, do not use the Request button in OskiCat. Instead, use the Bancroft's online request form AT LEAST 72 hours in advance (they prefer a week.)
If you have 72 hours in advance, you can also use the online request form for materials not in storage; that will speed things up when you arrive. If you don't have that much advance notice, don't bother.
Bring call numbers, titles, etc. with you. You will fill out a form to present to the Circulation Desk and materials will be paged and brought to you.
5. Ask for assistance at The Bancroft Library's reference desk.
6. If the collection you're interested in has a finding aid (guide), use it! Some of the finding aids are online, including the Finding Aid for the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Collection.
Microfilm & Microfiche
Before digital storage became easy and cheap, microfilm was a way for libraries to maintain large collections of newspapers, government documents, and historical documents while saving physical storage space. The UC Berkeley Libraries still have extensive microform (microfilm and microfiche) collections, containing valuable information for researchers.
Since each roll of microfilm contains thousands of tiny images of the original pages of a document, you'll need a microfilm reader to magnify the images enough to read them. The UC Berkeley Newspapers and Microforms Department (40 Doe Library) has machines that read, print, and scan images from microfilm and microfiche.
Microfilm and microfiche owned by the UC Berkeley Libraries can be found through OskiCat; use Advanced Keyword Search to limit your search to "All Microforms." In the News/Micro collection, microfilm rolls and microfiche cards are shelved with their own numbering system; click here for a PDF of the collection's floorplan.
Daily Cal Indexes
The index to the Daily Cal has changed format many times. Here’s a summary of where each chunk can be found.
1874 - 1929 is indexed in a card file in Bancroft’s University Archive. Easier to get to is the microfilm copy of the card file, which is in Newspaper/Micro Room under call no.: MICROFILM 20031 (3 reels).
1930 - June 1991 is indexed in card file located in Newspaper/Micro Room.
July 1991 - June 1994 is indexed in a printed index, which can be found in both: Doe Reference Periodical Indexes [AJ21.D333] and in the Newspaper Microform Room [AJ21.D29 NEWS\] And in the Online Archive of California website http://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf4f59n7s5
September 1997 - current is in Lexis/Nexis (use Easy Search, enter Daily Californian in the By Source Title box
June 1999 - current is indexed and searchable at http://www.dailycal.org/search_advanced.php.
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:
Primary Source Searching - Names
One of the most powerful ways to find primary sources in the Library is to use the names of people. An essential part of your background reading should be to note down names of people involved in your topics.
Names can be searched in the catalogs [Oskicat and Melvyl] in specialized ways: as authors or as subjects. Even people you do not consider authors in the conventional sense may be listed as authors, if:
- their correspondence is available
- their manuscripts are available
- interviews with them are available
- their diaries are available
- published versions of these are available
When searching for primary sources, it's a good idea always to search those names as authors, as well as keywords. Works where the person is listed as an author will always be primary sources.
African American News
Selected African American Newspapers
Flatlands (Oakland, 1966-67) Location: News/Micro MICROFILM 78777, Bancroft BANC NMP 6764:2:3
The Post (shelved as “Oakland Post,” 1963-67) Location: News/Micro NEWSPRINT-1
The Sacramento Observer (Sacramento, 1962-present) Location: News/Micro NEWSFILM-1
The Sun-Reporter (San Francisco, 1943-present) Location: News/Micro NEWSFILM-1
Los Angeles Tribune (Los Angeles, 1941-1960) Location: library only has selected issues, mainly from 1947-1952 in News/Micro NEWSFILM-1
The California Eagle (Los Angeles, 1897-1966) Location: library has 1944-53 in News/Micro NEWSFILM-1, also available from Bancroft
The Peninsula Bulletin (East Palo Alto, 1971-1979) Location: News/Micro NEWSFILM-1
The California Voice (Oakland, 1920-1998) Location: News/Micro NEWSFILM-1 (separate issues)
Richmond Afro American (Richmond, VA, 1938-68) Location: library has selected issues from these dates, some of which may have to be requested from NRLF, others in News/Micro NEWSFILM-1
The Michigan Chronicle (Detroit, 1936-present) Location: News/Micro NEWSFILM-1 (1943-1974)
How to Scan Microfilm
To save to a flash (USB) drive, make sure you have a flash drive before you start! The Library does not sell flash drives.
1. If necessary, turn power on in this sequence:
- Microfilm reader
- PC and monitor
2. On the reader, the "PC/PR" indicator should be set to "PC". If it is not, simultaneously hold the "PC/PR" and the "Shift" buttons down (for over a second). This action will toggle the reader between connections to the scanner (PC) and to the printer (indicated with a number).
3. Load microfilm/microfiche into the reader as usual. Locate the frame to scan and center it on the outlined frame on the reader screen.Read more