COLWRIT R4B: Writing About War

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  • Tim Dilworth
  • Office Location: 212 Doe Library
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This guide has been archived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 visit

Off-campus access to resources

Unless home is a campus dorm, in order to access many Library resources you must first configure your computer to use one of two simple access methods (Proxy Server is the quickest and easiest):

Proxy Server
After you make a one-time change in your web browser's settings, allows you to use your CalNet ID to accesss a licensed resource (setup instructions).

VPN (Virtual Private Network)
After you install and run the VPN software on your computer, you log in with a CalNet ID to accesss a licensed resource.

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Campus libraries

Click on the image below to see a larger interactive version of the campus library map.

UC Berkeley Library campus map

You can also view/download a PDF map of library locations. 

Floorplans: Main Stacks, Moffitt & Doe

Looking for a location in the Main Stacks, Moffitt or Doe ?  Here's the floorplans.

Library Hours

Hours on: 
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OskiCat or Article Database ?

It's important to use the right tool for the job.  Choosing the "right" resource means choosing a database that finds you the kind of materials you need.

You are likely to need to use both the UCB Library catalog (OskiCat) and an article database. Which you use, and at what point in the research process, depends on what you already know and the kind of materials you're seeking.

In a nutshell: if you already have a citation (i.e. you want to find a known item), you can start with the catalog.  If you only have a topic and wish to isolate articles or essays on the topic, you'll need to use an article database first.

See details about these two types of resources, when to use what, and locating results.

Library Catalog

OskiCat is the UCB library catalog.

A catalog tells you what a library has (in Berkeley's case, libraries), the location, and whether or not the item is available (sample catalog record).

Tutorial snippet: searching OskiCat (basic information on subject and keyword searching, and locating results).

Article databases

Article databases help identify articles on a topic (sometimes more than articles) and where they were published (e.g. what publications). Sometimes results link to article content online.

Access: see electronic resources section of this page.  Off-campus access also requires Proxy Server or VPN setup (see For Starters tab for details).

Article databases & other electronic resources

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Primary sources

Primary sources were either created during the time period being studied or were created at a later date by a participant in the events being studied....They reflect the individual viewpoint of a participant or observer.  Primary sources enable the researcher to get as close as possible to what actually happened during an historical event or time period

What's here ?

These notes contain additional suggestions about how you might proceed to best use the resources outlined in this class guide.  They presume familiarity with the general concepts and information addressed in the other tabbed pages of the guide.

A research trajectory


Suggested resources

Search tips


UC-eLinks orange logo

In many databases you will encounter UC-eLinks.  When a result is not available online, this feature allows you to check the UC-wide collections and see if it is otherwise available.

A good rule of thumb: when you see the icon click on it to view your access options. Depending on what's available for a given result, options can range from online access, to checking for print copy in a UC library, to requesting an interlibrary loan.

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Evaluating sources

Research is as credible as the work that goes into it! It's important to analyze the information you find, including where it comes from. 

While a magazine or journal article database lists results from sources known to be reputable/scholarly, finding material via Google requires additional evaluation on your part.

Citing Sources

Properly citing sources is an important part of your research.  It allows you to avoid plagiarism and highlights your engagement with related scholarship.

In a nutshell:  "Whenever you quote or base your ideas on another person's work, you must document the source you used. Even when you do not quote directly from another work, if reading that source contributed to the ideas presented in your paper, you must give the authors proper credit." 

The above extract is taken from the Library's guide on citing sources.  Besides providing an overview, it links to formatting rules for the major style guides in use, including those for the MLA style (via Purdue University).

* SHORTCUT: Many databases allow you to export citations in a given style (MLA, APA, etc.) . When provided, this functionality is often found in the email options. *

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Research Advisory Service

Research Advisory Service for Cal Undergraduates

Book a 30-minute appointment with a librarian who will help refine and focus research inquiries, identify useful online and print sources, and develop search strategies for humanities and social sciences topics (examples of research topics).

Schedule, view, edit or cancel your appointment online (CalNetID required)

Subject Specialists

UCB has librarians specializing in certain disciplinary subjects and certain kinds of materials (for example government documents, film, etc.).  You may want to speak with one of these specialists.

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