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
includes databases for finding newspaper articles, such as Historical Newspapers (ProQuest) or magazine articles, such as Reader's Guide
- Vetted sites on the web:
Learn more about your topic in advance:
- names of relevant individuals and organizations
- dates of events
- what terminology was used at the time by participants and observers? (ex: negro or colored instead of african american)
The Bancroft Library - Overview
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.
Some Bancroft materials are available online via Calisphere, which includes primary sources from many California libraries and museums.
How to Use the Bancroft Library
1. Be prepared! Read secondary sources and know something about your topic.
2. Before you go: Search OskiCat so you can bring call numbers with you. You can limit your OskiCat search to find materials at the Bancroft Library, instead of all campus libraries (choose "Bancroft Library" from the pulldown menu that says "Entire Collection."). Remember that there are primary sources in many other campus libraries as well.
Important: 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 the OskiCat record mentions a "finding aid" (an index) to a manuscript collection, you should use it to help you find what you need in the collection. If the finding aid is online there will be a link from the OskiCat record, or you can search the Online Archive of California to find it. The finding aids that are not online are near the Registration desk at the Bancroft Library.
3. Learn how to use the Bancroft Library. Read about Access (bring a quarter for lockers!) and Registration (bring two pieces of ID!). Remember to 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.Read more
Searching OskiCat for Books and Media
See the Books and Media tab for search examples.
How can you tell if something is a primary source by looking at OskiCat? Sometimes you can't, but here are some ideas:
- was it created by a person or organization involved with the events? (ex: Fred Korematsu, Japanese American Citizens League)
- was it created during the time period of the events? (ex: 1939-1945) - note that not all primary sources were created during the time period - some, like interviews and memoirs, were created later
- is the item the type of material that has been created by participants in the event - specialized newspapers, memoirs, interviews, diaries, correspondence, etc.?
- is the item the type of material that has been created by witnesses of the event - mainstream newspapers and magazine articles, for example?
If you're not sure, ask for assistance!
Finding Primary Sources - Articles
Sample searches in Historical Newspapers (ProQuest): (mostly primary sources)
1. Japanese american* internment
2. advanced search
Japanese (citation and document text)
Evacuation (citation and document text)
Alien* (citation and document text)
From: 1/1/1942 – 12/31/1945
Remember to use the terminology of the time period!
Note: read the help screens before trying to print!
Watch the movie version navigating to Historical Newspapers, searching, revising the search, e-mailing the cites - in MLA citation style!
Sample Searches in Readers Guide (primary sources - major American magazine articles)
1. Japanese (keywords)
2. Japanese Americans evacuation (subject)
limit by date: from year 1942 to year 1945
click on UC e-links to find library location
The Movie: navigating to Reader's Guide, searching, revising the searching, e-mailing the cites in MLA citation style.
Also try searching specific names and events:
General De Witt; Executive Order 9066, Civilian Exclusion Order 346, etc.!
A small sampling of Internment-related primary sources on the Internet:
the first link, "Documents and Photographs" is a little hard to use - scroll through the lesson plans to the links to the documents - the links are just a series of record numbers like 296057 - then you may still have to look for a tab that says something like "Digital Copies"
Search the Library of Congress site for many amazing collections - don't miss Ansel Adam's photographs of Manzanar