Searching Catalogs for Primary Sources
Catalogs also list collections of manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, and records of organizations, but they do not list individual items in those collections.
OskiCat = most UC Berkeley libraries
MELVYL = all UC campus libraries, including all UC Berkeley libraries. Use the Request button to borrow items from another UC campus.
What's the difference? more details here
Primary Sources: More Resources
Can't find what you're looking for on this page? Click here to see a list of all the digitized primary source databases available from the UC Berkeley Libraries.
Where are Primary Sources at UCB?
Archives are collections of original unpublished, historical and contemporary material – in other words, primary sources. Before you go to any archival collection on campus you can save time and effort if you first:
- Note the hours of each location. Explore the collection's web site and any special use conditions that may apply (registration, lockers, appointments, materials that need to be recalled from storage, restrictions on duplication, etc.)
- BEFORE YOU GO: Search the library catalogs: OskiCat or MELVYL (about) to find the titles and call numbers of specific items.
- If you need to use manuscript collections, look to see if the collection has a finding aid. Some finding aids list the contents of collections, box by box, folder by folder; others are less detailed. Some finding aids are available online via the Online Archive of California (the primary source itself may or may not be available online).
Primary sources on campus may be in their original format; examples might include:
- Patrick Breen diary (Donner Party) (Bancroft Library)
- Julia Morgan Papers (Environmental Design Archives)
- Chicano Studies posters (Chicano Studies Library)
- Social Protest Collection (flyers, leaflets, papers) (Bancroft Library)
Some primary sources have been reproduced in another format, for instance:
- Patrick Breen diary: published as a book (one edition here) (available to check out) and available online.
- Papers of the NAACP (originals at the Library of Congress, available at UCB in multiple sets of microfilm - one of the sets)
- Newsreels (originals in various archives; available at UCB on DVD)
- Some historical newspapers and magazines (examples include: New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Harper’s Weekly, The Nation) –historical full text available through a UCB Library database.
Online primary sources may be found via free web sites as well as via Library databases.
Searching Article Databases for Primary Sources
To find magazine, journal or newspaper articles: use an article database. Article databases allow you to search for articles by topic, author, etc. Some (not all) article databases link to the full text of articles.
Primary Source Databases (all), including newspaper databases.
Look carefully at the description of each database. Note:
- what years of publication are included
- what types of materials are included
- does the database cover a particular academic discipline (such as History) or whether it is interdisciplinary
In some article databases you may click on the button, which will either locate the full text of the article online, or allow you to search OskiCat to determine if the magazine or newspaper title is located on campus.