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.
"It's all free on the Internet, right? Why should I go through the library's website to find sources for my paper?"
The Web is a great source for free, publicly available information. However, the Library pays for thousands of electronic books, journals, and other information resources that are available only to the campus community. Through the Library website, you can access hundreds of different licensed databases containing journal articles, electronic books, maps, images, government and legal information, current and historical newspapers, digitized primary sources, and more.
You access these resources through the Internet, using a browser like Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer -- but these databases are not part of the free, public Web. Resources like Lexis-Nexis, Web of Science, Academic Search Complete, and ARTstor are "invisible" to Google. You will not see results from most library databases in the results of a Google search.
1. Read an introduction to the campus libraries for undergraduates.
2. Set up your computer for off campus access to library databases.
4. Each library has its own hours and they may change on holidays and between semesters - click on the calendar for each library to view a month at a time.
5. Information about citing your sources and links to guides for frequently used citation styles here.
The Bancroft Library is one of the treasures of the campus, and one of the world's great libraries for the history of the American West.
Some Bancroft materials are available online via Calisphere, which includes primary sources from many California libraries and museums.
How to Use the Bancroft Library
1. Be prepared! Read secondary sources and know something about your topic.
2. Before you go: Search OskiCat so you can bring call numbers with you. You can limit your OskiCat search to find materials at the Bancroft Library, instead of all campus libraries (choose "Bancroft Library" from the pulldown menu that says "Entire Collection."). Remember that there are primary sources in many other campus libraries as well.
Important: if the item is in storage ("NRLF") and owned by The Bancroft Library, do not use the Request button in OskiCat. Instead, use the Bancroft's online request form AT LEAST 72 hours in advance (they prefer a week.)
If you have 72 hours in advance, you can also use the online request form for materials not in storage; that will speed things up when you arrive.
If the OskiCat record mentions a "finding aid" (an index) to a manuscript collection, you should use it to help you find what you need in the collection. If the finding aid is online there will be a link from the OskiCat record, or you can search the Online Archive of California to find it. The finding aids that are not online are near the Registration desk at the Bancroft Library.
3. Learn how to use the Bancroft Library. Read about Access (bring a quarter for lockers!) and Registration (bring two pieces of ID!). Remember to bring call numbers, titles, etc. with you. You will fill out a form to present to the Circulation Desk, and materials will be paged and brought to you.
5. Ask for assistance at The Bancroft Library's reference desk.Read more
The Regional Oral History Office (ROHO) is a research program here at UC Berkeley, located within the Bancroft Library. ROHO staff conduct interviews, teach, analyze, and archive oral and video history documents in a broad variety of subject areas that are relevant to the history of California and the United States.
ROHO staff conduct interviews with people who were eyewitnesses to history. These interviews are recorded on DVDs (older interviews were recorded on audiotape). ROHO editorial staff then transcribe the conversations, edit them slightly for clarity, and make them available through the UC Berkeley Libraries and as PDFs on the ROHO website. To view the DVDs or listen to the audiotapes, you must go to the Bancroft Library's reading room and use them there (see "Bancroft Library - Overview" for more information).
The Regional Oral History Office has also posted some interview excerpts on YouTube. See http://www.youtube.com/user/ROHOucb for a complete listing of videos.
The oral history collection that you will need to use in History 7B is the Sierra Club Oral History Series (focusing on the history of the Sierra Club and its role in local and national conservation efforts). The interview transcripts are available online as PDFs through the ROHO website. A few of the transcripts are available as Kindle and other e-reader files through the Internet Archive.
There is a short description of each of the transcripts, and you can click through to view or download a PDF of each interview. Some of the links will take you to the scanned transcript on the Internet Archive (archive.org), which will allow you to download the transcript as a PDF, a Kindle file, or in other ebook formats.
Many of the Sierra Club oral history interviews are available on audiotape (called "phonotape" in OskiCat). These tapes are recordings of original, unedited interviews, and include all of the pauses, "umms," and "errs" of normal conversation. However, the tapes can be important primary sources, since they reveal the speaker's mood and tone of voice better than a transcript can.
These tapes are available to be viewed in the Bancroft Library, but they cannot be checked out. Before you go to the Bancroft, please read the "Bancroft Library - Overview" section of this guide, and make sure you know the specific interview you want to listen to, and its call number.
You can find the call number for the tape you want to listen to by using OskiCat. First, choose the particular interview you want to view by finding a transcript you're interested in, using the link in "Locating ROHO Oral History Transcripts." Then, search OskiCat by the title of the transcript or the interviewee's name, limiting your search to "Bancroft Library." The audiotape will have a number starting with "Phonotape," like this:
Phonotape 1994 C
Give this number to the circulation desk staff, who will retrieve the tape for you.
Bibliographic citation for a single interview:Broussard, Allen E., A California Supreme Court Justice Looks at Law and Society, 1964-1996, typescript of an oral history conducted 1991-1996 by Gabrielle Morris, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1997, 266 pp.Footnote citation for a single interview:Allen E. Broussard, A California Supreme Court Justice Looks at Law and Society, 1964-1996, an oral history conducted 1991-1996, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1997, pp. 134-136.Bibliographic citation for one interview in a multi-volume oral history:Silverman, Mervyn F., "Public Health Director, The Bathhouse Crisis: 1983-1984," typescript of an oral history conducted 1993, in The AIDS Epidemic in San Francisco: The Medical Response, 1981-1984, Volume I, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1995, 276 pp.Footnote citation for one interview in a multi-volume oral history:Mervyn F. Silverman, "Public Health Director, The Bathhouse Crisis: 1983-1984," an oral history conducted in 1993, in The AIDS Epidemic in San Francisco: The Medical Response, 1981-1984, Volume I, Regional Oral History Office, University of California, Berkeley, 1995, p. 117.
Citation management tools help you manage your research, collect and cite sources, organize and store your PDFs, and create bibliographies in a variety of citation styles. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses, but all are easier than doing it by hand!
Tip: After creating a bibliography with a citation management tool, it's always good to double check the formatting; sometimes the software doesn't get it quite right.
Choose a topic. It's OK if it's vague, or too broad; you can get more specific later.
Do a brain dump: Note down what you already know about your topic, including:
Select the best search tools to find information on your topic. Look under the Finding Articles tab of this guide for article database suggestions, or click here to see all the article databases available for your subject. Or use a catalog like Oskicat or Melvyl to search for books and other resources.
Use nouns from your brain dump as search terms.
Evaluate what you find. Change search terms to get closer to what you really want.
Refine your topic - Using the information you have gathered, determine if your research topic should be narrower or broader. You may need to search basic resources again using your new, focused topics and keywords.
For more ideas, take a look this short tutorial on beginning your research!
Unsure how to start a paper or research project? Think maybe you could stand to brush up on search strategies?
If this sounds familiar, Library Workshop: Research 101 has you covered. This interactive tutorial explores six stages of the research process. You can view it from start to finish, or focus on specific sections as needed:
Starting strategies, from choosing a topic to finding the right keywords.
The publication timeline, scholarly vs. popular sources, and differences in academic disciplines.
Search for books and other items in OskiCat, Cal's local library catalog.
Locate and access articles in library research databases.
How to cite your sources correctly.
Common techniques for constructing searches that yield useful results.
Specialized search strategies for targeting specific topics.
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.
Schedule, view, edit or cancel your appointment online (CalNetID required)
This service is for Cal undergraduates only. Graduate students and faculty should contact the library liaison to their department or program for specialized reference consultations.
You can type your question directly into this chat window to chat with a librarian. Your question may be answered by a reference librarian from Berkeley, from another UC campus, or another academic library elsewhere in the US. We share information about our libraries to make sure you get good answers.
If the librarian can't answer you well enough, your question will be referred to a Berkeley librarian for follow-up.
Have fun chatting!
"There are no dumb questions!"
That's the philosophy of reference librarians, who are here to save you time and trouble. If you get stuck, you can talk to a reference librarian at any campus library.
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