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.
Newspapers and Microforms Collection
If the library location in OskiCat says "Newspapers and Microforms" it is referring to the Newspapers and Microforms Collection, 40 Doe Library.
To get there, enter the north entrance of Doe Library (the side facing Memorial Glade and the East Asian Library). Walk straight ahead until you reach the marble stairs; do NOT take the stairs, but instead turn right and go down the hall until you see stairs to the basement. (There is an elevator around the corner). Once you go down the stairs or elevator, the entrance to the Newspapers and Microforms collection should be directly in front of you.
The collection's hours are 10-7 M-Th, 10-5 on Fridays. The collection is not open on weekends, and microfilm cannot be checked out.
There are a limited number of machines -- please plan ahead! Be sure to bring a flash drive so you can save scanned copies of the microfilm to your disk. Scanning is free, but printing from the microfilm reader/printers is 10 cents a page. You MUST use your Cal1 card to pay for printing.
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.
Don't hesitate to ask for help! The News/Micro staff are experts in the use of the machines.
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and cheap, microfilm was a way for libraries to maintain large collections of newspapers, government documents, and historical documents while saving physical storage space.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.
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:
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.
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