This guide has been archived
Please note: this course guide was created during a previous semester, and is no longer being actively maintained. For a list of current course guides, please see http://lib.berkeley.edu/alacarte/course-guides.
Locating Primary Sources
There are many access points to the vast collections of primary sources available to you.
Certain words and phrases will find primary sources in library catalogs. You can use these in OskiCat or Melvyl:
-early works to 1800
For specific search strategies, see the Library's guide to Finding Historical Primary Sources.
Your searches will be more successful if, in your preliminary research, you identify specific:
- 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)
Online Archive of California (OAC)
A searchable and browseable resource that brings together historical materials from a variety of California institutions, including museums, historical societies, and archives. Contains over 120,000 images; 50,000 pages of documents, letters, and oral histories; and 8,000 guides to collections. Images are organized into thematic and institutional collections, such as historical topics, nature, places, and technology.
Searchable descriptions of nearly a million historical documents, personal papers, and family histories kept in libraries, museums, and archives worldwide. Includes information on how to examine and order copies.
Archive Finder (including ArchivesUSA and NIDS UK/Ireland)
Directory which describes tens of thousands of collections of primary source material housed in thousands of repositories across the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Center for Research Libraries Online Catalog
CRL acquires and preserves newspapers, journals, documents, archives, and other traditional and digital resources from a global network of sources. UC Berkeley Library students, faculty, and other researchers have liberal access to these rich source materials through interlibrary loan, electronic delivery, and a growing collection of digitized material.
One stop shopping for U.S. congressional publications. Provides index and abstracts of congressional publications back to 1789, including full text of published Congressional Hearings from 1824-present (unpublished until 1979), full text Committee Prints from 1830-present, full text Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports from 1916-present, full text United States Congressional Serial Set (and its various former titles) from 1789-present, and legislative histories from 1970-present. For more information on how to find hearings, consult the Congressional Tutorials homepage
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.
Documents California's history of diversity and multicultural contributions. Includes photographs, documents, newspaper clippings, political cartoons, works of art, oral histories, and features more than 20,000 specially digitized primary sources from The Bancroft Library. Part of Calisphere, University of California's free public gateway to primary sources.
Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Electronic Index
Indexes the FBIS Daily Reports issued by the US Government covering political, economic, scientific, and cultural issues and events throughout the world. Translations of broadcasts, news agency transmissions, newspapers, periodicals, and government statements from various nations are the sources of this information. Reports since 1996 can be found in WorldNews Connection.
Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports
Information from thousands of foreign media sources, including political speeches, television and radio broadcasts, newspapers, periodicals, and more, offering an extensive collection of military, political, scientific and technical reports from countries around the world, translated into English. The original mission of the FBIS was to monitor, record, transcribe and translate intercepted radio broadcasts from foreign governments, official news services, and clandestine broadcasts from occupied territories. Coverage is global with the exception of the FBIS Annexes (a supplementary publication created by the U.S. intelligence community to benefit analysts and policy makers from April 1974 through September 1996) and Western European regional broadcasts.
World Scholar: Latin America and the Caribbean
Include a comprehensive range of contemporary and historical documents for the region, providing research across the humanities, both for current Latin America and the Caribbean and as a historical perspective back through the colonial period.
Newspapers on Microfilm
Because of their fragility as they age, newspapers have traditionally been preserved by microfilming them.
Microfilm is located in the Newspaper and Microfilm Room in 40 Doe Library and in Bancroft Library. Newspaper films are arranged geographically within the News/Micro collection [floorplan.pdf]
Reader/printers allow you to read the films and those in News/Micro allow you to save pages to flash drives in .jpg and .pdf format.
Most newspapers do not have indexes. How do you find articles by subject? By knowing the approximate date of the event you are studying. If you don't know the date, you can use the index to a different newspaper as a way to find out.
To determine whether we have microfilmed newspapers for the city or region of interest, try these search techniques in OskiCat.
SUBJECT SEARCHING: Select "Subject Heading" as the search type and enter your search using one of the structures suggested below:
African American newspapers
KEYWORD SEARCHING: Combine search terms with AND and OR. Use * (truncation symbol) to search for multiple word endings. For example:
newspaper* and (poland or polish)
newspaper* and mexic*
(soviet or russia*) and newspaper*
NOTE: these searches will produce results including both newspapers and books about newspapers, unless you limit your search to Newspapers/Microforms.
Collections of newspapers available online can be found in the Library's Electronic Resource Finder, under "Electronic Resources Types A-Z." A few of these are linked below.
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).
Alternative, radical, and independent magazines, newspapers, and journals in North America which report on politics and government, policy and culture, international issues, education, environment as well as reviews of theater, movies and books.
Pravda Digital Archive
Full text and full image coverage of Pravda beginning in 1912 to the present. Searchable in Russian Cyrillic or transliteration.
Izvestiia Digital Archive
Completely digitized archive of Izvestiia, one of the longest-running Russian newspapers founded in March 1917; during the Soviet period Izvestiia was the official organ of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.
19th Century U.S. Newspapers
Images of both full pages and clipped articles for hundreds of 19th century U.S. newspapers. For each issue, the newspaper is captured from cover-to-cover, providing access to every article, advertisement and illustration.
This site allows users to search and view newspaper pages from 1880-1922 and find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. To date, over 200,000 pages of California newspapers have been digitized.