The UC Berkeley History Collection News blog will keep you informed of new digital collections, trials of resources, workshops, events related to History collections, and other news of interest to researchers in History. Options for accessing the blog include:
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 Library Prize for Undergraduate Research recognizes excellence in undergraduate research projects that show evidence of significant inquiry using the library, its resources, and collections and learning about the research and information-gathering process itself.
All libraries on campus are equipped with "bookscan stations," which allow you to scan documents and save them to a USB drive, or to scan documents and then send them to a printer.
In order to scan documents, you must have the following:
In order to send documents to the printer from any of the public computers in the libraries, you must have the following:
Have more questions? There's more info here.
In the article databases and library catalogs, your search strategy should include combining keywords that represent the main concepts of your topic. Take a couple minutes to think about your topic and keywords to use in your searches.
Suppose you're starting with the thesis: “Global warming is having adverse impacts on agriculture in America.” What keywords might be used to search for relevant sources?
Break your question down into its major concept terms:
global warming | impacts | agriculture | America
Think of synonyms and variations of your keywords to use when searching. You should go through this quick exercise because you may find out that while you use the word “global warming,” the database you’re searching uses “climate change.” Using synonyms guarantees that you’re casting a wider net.
Construct a search using your keywords, combining them with AND and OR
Using specialized encyclopedias to become familiar with your topic is the most efficient way to get started on your research. These encyclopedias, written by knowledgeable scholars, will summarize your topic, provide you with social and historical context, familiarize you with specialized terminology, and often provide lists of additional resources on your topic. They are providing you in condensed form information from multiple books and articles. Think of them as CliffsNotes ... that you are allowed to use.
The encyclopedias listed below may be useful for many of the topics suggested by your instructor, but there are many, many more. The easiest way to locate them in the Library is to do an Oskicat search like this:
1. Use the keyword search so that it looks for the words everywhere in the record.
2. The asterisk is a truncation symbol, which will retrieve variations of the word: ethic, ethics, ethical, etc.
3. The Doe Reference collection includes many encyclopedias related to social science topics. Limiting your search to this collection will retrieve a manageable number of records. If you retrieve nothing, change the search parameter to All Collections.
Try different terminology and be persistent. If you are not finding a relevant resource, be sure to ask for help.
Other searches you might try:
encyclopedia and history
encyclopedia and united states
encyclopedia and african american*
encyclopedia and reconstruction
Now that you know the types of articles you need, you can choose a database, also known as a periodical index, to find them. Databases are collections of thousands of articles organized by subject. The Libraries have hundreds of databases covering every academic discipline. Some are multi-disciplinary, covering a broad range of subjects and including popular and scholarly sources, and others are subject-specific, and include scholarly and specialized articles. A complete list is available at Find Articles.
The following multi-disciplinary databases are good places to start your research:
When accommodating variations in spelling, you can use wildcard characters represented by question mark ? or a pound sign #.
Use ? to replace a single character. Example: ne?t to find all citations containing neat, nest or next.
Use # when an alternate spelling may contain an extra character. Example: colo#r to find all citations containing color or colour.
Use the truncation symbol * (asterisk) to look for variant endings of a word. Example: comput* to find the words computer or computing.
Use “quotation marks” to search for an exact phrase.
You can also view a tutorial on Advanced Search in America: History and Life.
Once you've searched a database to find articles, you may need to use to link to a PDF or html file if the full text is not immediately available. Each database is a bit different, but a good rule of thumb is this: when you see the Uc-eLinks icon click on it to view your article access options, which can range from full text to a call number to an Interlibrary Loan request:
For more information, here's a tutorial on using UC-eLinks.
Use OskiCat to locate materials related to your topic, including books, government publications, and audio and video recordings, in the libraries of UC Berkeley. OskiCat will show you the location and availability of the items that we own.
Use Melvyl to locate materials related to your topic located at other campuses in the UC system, or worldwide. You can use the Request button to request an item from another library, if we don't own it.
Melvyl has changed as of January 2012, and now includes many more articles. Detailed Melvyl help.
The Bancroft Library is one of the treasures of the campus, and one of the world's great libraries for the history of theAmerican West.
Some Bancroft materials are available online via Calisphere, which includes primary sources from many California libraries and museums.
Before you go:
1. Be prepared! Read secondary sources and know something about your topic.
2. Search OskiCat so you can bring call numbers with you. Use the Entire Collection pull-down menu in OskiCat to limit your search to the Bancroft Library only. (Remember that there are primary sources in many other campus libraries as well.)
3. Learn about the Bancroft's policies: read about Access (bring a quarter for lockers) and Registration (bring two pieces of ID). You may want to read about the new camera policy ($10/day, no flash) or about getting photocopies.
During your visit:
How to Get to the Bancroft Library
The Bancroft is open from 10am to 5pm Monday-Friday (closed on weekends and holidays; shorter hours during Intersession). Paging ends 30 minutes before closing; this means that if you want to use Bancroft materials until 5pm, you need to arrive and request your materials at the circulation desk before 4:30pm.
The Bancroft Library is on the second floor of Doe, on the east side (the side closest to the Campanile). See a floor plan of Doe Library 2nd floor (pdf).
Want to find scanned articles from major U.S. newspapers, going back to the mid-19th century? You can do this through an easy-to-use online database: ProQuest Historical Newspapers. This database includes articles from the Chicago Defender (1905-1975), the Chicago Tribune (1849-1987), Los Angeles Times (1881-1987), the New York Times (1851-2007), the San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922), the Wall Street Journal (1889-1993), and the Washington Post (1877-1994).
Trying to use Historical Newspapers from off-campus? Be sure to set up off-campus access. Use of this resource is restricted to UC Berkeley students, faculty and staff.
This is a small sampling of digital collections available from the Library. For a complete list, go to Archival Collections and Primary Source Databases.
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!
Fill out this quick survey to finish up the class. thanks!
Some reference questions can't be easily answered over e-mail and I am happy to talk with you in person or over the phone if your question is more complex or if you'd like a more in-depth consultation. Trying to schedule appointments via email is time-consuming. Here are some alternatives:
1. Call me at 510-768-7059
2. Use bCal to find my calendar (firstname.lastname@example.org) and locate a free slot between 9-5, Mon-Fri. You can propose an appointment in bCal or contact me by email asking me to reserve that slot for you.
3. If you don't use bCal yet and you have a gmail address, you can send that to me and I'll grant you access to my calendar.
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).
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.
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