HIST 101: Asian Urban Centers

Primary Sources

Primary sources can be found in a variety of library tools:

For specific search strategies, see the Library's Guide to Finding Historical Primary Sources

Learn more about your topic in advance:

  • names of relevant individuals and organizations
  • dates of events
  • places
  • what terminology was used at the time by participants and observers? (ex:  negro or colored instead of african american)

Use the bibliographies of secondary sources and reference sources to find citations to specific primary sources; search OskiCat to locate them on campus, or ask for assistance at the Library.

Searching OskiCat for primary sources

Search OskiCat for primary sources using keywords and adding terms that denote primary sources, such as:

-personal narratives


chinese cookery (mostly US, but...)

advanced search

(subject) agriculture china sources
language:  english

Search individuals as author AND as subjects:

(author)  chavez, cesar
(subject)  chavez, cesar

3.   search by organizational author:

author:  mattachine society

Also try limiting by date:

advanced keyword

(keywords)  japan cultur*
(subject)  japan civilization

language:  english

years:  1918  to 1939

finding newspapers by country:

(any field)  korea* newspapers
language:  english
books or journals:  journals/magazines/newspapers

note:  don't confuse the first date of publication of the newspaper with the dates that we actually own - ask for assistance if you're not sure what we have

alternative:  ask at the Newspapers/Microforms Room for a computer printout of newspaper titles by geographical location.

Primary Source Databases - Examples

See also:  East Asian Library > Electronic Resources

  • Historical Newspapers (ProQuest)
    Includes Chicago Defender (1910-1975). Chicago Tribune (1849-1988). Los Angeles Times (1881-1988). San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922). New York Times (1851-1994) with Index (1851-1993). Wall Street Journal (1889-1994). Washington Post (1877-1995).
  • Historical Newspapers Online
    Indexes newspapers covering all aspects of British life and world affairs in the 19th and 20th centuries. Contains four major historical resources: Palmer's Index to the Times which covers The Times (London, 1790-1905); The Official Index to the Times (1906-1980); The Historical Index to the New York Times (1863- 1922); and Palmer's Full Text Online (1785-1870).
  • House of Commons Parliamentary Papers
    Provides full-text access to thousands of 18th, 19th and 20th Century Parliamentary Papers. Includes all the "sessional papers" of the British Parliament: bills, reports of committees, papers presented by Royal Commissions and government departments, treaties and international agreements, command papers, and statistics.
  • People's Daily (Ren Min Ri Bao)
    Provides a complete archive of the People's Daily, the leading newspaper in China, from the birth of the People's Republic of China to 2002.
  • Chinese Cultural Revolution Database
    Consists of primary sources on the Cultural Revolution. Containing nearly 30 million words, the database is made up of the Communist Party documents, speeches of Mao Zedong and other leaders, important newspaper and magazine articles, documents of the Red Guards, and more. The materials are indexed in both English and Chinese; however, the entire body of literature is only available in Chinese.

Primary Source Databases - Sample Searches

Historical Newspapers Online (Times of London, some full text)

NOTE:  remember to think about the terminology, spelling and transliteration that might have been used at the time!

Combined Indexes/Palmer's Full Text

1.    keyword:     soochow
       select decade:  1860-1869

2.   keyword:  major gordon
major heading:  china
      specify date range:  from 1855 January 1
                                       to   1864 December 31  (note:  maximum 10 years)

House of Commons Parliamentary Papers


keyword:  taiping

subject:  china

click on full text  to view text; pages with hits are marked with a box; pages with tables and graphs are also noted

Contemporary English Language News Sources from Asia

  • Access World News
    Provides full-text information and perspectives from over 600 U.S. and over 700 international sources. Offers strong regional coverage, indexing more than California newspapers such as Contra Costa Times (1995-current), Sacramento Bee (1984-current), San Francisco Chronicle (1985-current), and San Jose Mercury News (1985-current). Search categories include: California newspapers (121 titles), Greater Los Angeles (54 titles), major metropolitan titles (13 titles), Spanish-language news sources (48 titles), the World (almost 2000 titles), US (855 titles).
  • LexisNexis Academic
    Includes over 6,000 individual titles of international, national and local newspapers and wire services; radio and television transcripts; and business, medical, industry, and legislative magazines, journals, and newsletters. Wide geographic coverage and translations from foreign-language sources, as well as news services like the Associated Press, Agence France Press, El Pais and Xinhua (New China) News Agency.

Sample Searches - News Sources from Asia

Access World News

click on the map or the list of continents and browse to the countries you're interested in (this will limit your search to news sources from those countries - mostly English language)

note that China, Hong Kong and Taiwan are of course listed separately

note that the 2nd search box defaults to "date" - change it to all text if you prefer

if the search is too broad, consider changing the search from All Text to Lead/First Paragraph; example:

Lead/First paragraph  falun gong

Lexis-Nexis Academic

under "Research Countries" click on Browse Sources

2. Filter by:  Countries: 

you can select Asia, or further down, a specific country)

3.  Publication Type:  News

select appropriate category (ex:  Newspapers)

select each title that you're interested in

above and to the right of "Trail:  Publication Type" etc., click on  OK Continue (red button)

search terms:  aum shinrikyo

once you have search results, you can narrow them down:

search within results:  trial*


Last Update: September 12, 2013 11:10