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.
HathiTrust (Hathi is pronounced hah-tee) is a partnership of libraries that works towards the goal of developing a shared digital access, preservation, and storage solution for the materials held in the member libraries. The contents of HathiTrust are similar to that of GoogleBooks, but the collecting focus is on scholarly materials and the resource includes content and features (such as indexing and manipulation of results) not available in Google Books.
- To limit to “full view” (public domain materials) in your search, check the “full view only” box.
- From the “full view” of any item, click on Download whole book (PDF).
- Click login.
- Choose the University of California, Berkeley from the drop down list and click login.
- Enter your CalNet ID and passphrase.
- Click Download whole book (PDF).
- PDF will load and you will choose to either open it or save it.
- Phrase Searching: Use quotes to search an exact phrase: e.g., "occult fiction"
- Wildcards: Use * or ? to search for alternate forms of a word. Use * to stand for several characters, and ? for a single character: e.g., optim* will find optimal, optimize or optimum; wom?n will find woman and women.
- Boolean Searching: Use AND and OR between words to combine them with Boolean logic: e.g., (heart OR cardiac) AND surgery will find items about heart surgery or cardiac surgery.
- Phrase Searching: Use quotes to search an exact phrase: e.g., "occult fiction."
- Multiple Term Searching: When your search terms are not quoted phrases, avoid common words (such as: 'a', 'and', 'of', 'the', etc.) to speed up your search.
- Boolean Searching: Use AND and OR between words to combine them with Boolean logic: e.g., heart OR cardiac will find items containing the word heart or the word cardiac; heart AND cardiac will find items containing both words. Use a minus (-) to remove words from the result e.g., heart -cardiac will find items containing the word heart that do not include the word cardiac.
- On the Collections page, click on login.
- Choose the University of California, Berkeley from the drop down list and click on login.
- Enter your CalNet ID and passphrase.
- Click on Create a New Collection and name your collection (the description is optional).
- Indicate whether it is a "Private" or "Public" collection.
- Click on Add.
In the future if you want to edit, change the private/public setting, or delete the collection, your collections will always be listed in the "My Collections" tab whenever you are logged in to HathiTrust.
Foreign National Governments
The UC Berkeley Libraries are one of the very few libraries in the United States which continue to collect foreign government information on a large scale. We have particularly strong collections for Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Do a search in Oskicat for "poverty" and a country.
African Governments Custom Search. This is a search engine for web sites from Sub-Saharan African governments. For best results, search using the official language(s) of the country you are interested in.
Africa South of the Sahara. One of the most comprehensive web portals for Sub-saharan Africa. Fully searchable and browseable by topic (e.g. environment, human rights) and by country/region
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Canadian Aid & International Development Agency.
Department of International Development. United Kingdom International Development Agency.
Foreign/International Governments Custom Search. Collection of Google custom search engines from Carleton University Library, including Asia & the Pacific, Latin America, & the Middle East. Includes a mix of sites from international agencies, news services, and NGOs.
Foreign Government Information by Country. Very nicely organized directory of government sites from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Foreign Government Internet Sites. Links to the official government legislative and agency sites of foreign governments. From Northwestern University Libraries.
Government in Latin America - Provides links to regional organizations and government information by country. Information Includes: constitutions, presidential messages, central bank reports, and other official documents.
Swedish International Development Cooperaton Agency (SIDA). Swedish International Aid agency.
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 Sources Online - Overview
The texts of primary sources are available online in two different ways:
- freely available on the Internet (example: American Memory from the Library of Congress, or The David Rumsey Map Collection). It is important to carefully consider how you find and evaluate primary sources on the Internet.
- available via library databases (example: Gerritsen Collection of Women's History Online) that may be used from any computer with access to the campus network. Off-campus access is limited to UCB faculty, staff and students; see Connecting from Off Campus for instructions for using the proxy server.
Comprehensive list of library databases of primary sources in US History
Comprehensive list of library databases of primary sources worldwide.
Foreign Broadcast Information Service
The Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) can provide you a wealth of information from foreign news sources. The U.S. State Department ran the FBIS to translate foreign language newspapers, wires, and broadcasts into English. FBIS only translated information relating to U.S. interests, and only distributed to the public a select amount of what was translated.
At UC Berkeley, we have 2 databases for locating FBIS documents:
World News Connection (covers 1996-present, and is full-text)
FBIS Electronic Index (covers 1975-1996 and is only citations--use the instructions below for finding the documents)Read more