Overview of the Process
1. Find a topic that interests you or find a primary source or type of primary source that interest you. You can browse through primary source databases (see Primary Sources tab), do some general searching in OskiCat (see Secondary Sources tab), or look through an encyclopedia (see below).
2. Look for background information about your topic (encyclopedias, etc.; see below)
3. Look for secondary sources (see Secondary Sources tab - search OskiCat, maybe some article databases)...look for names, dates, places, events, titles of sources...look through bibliographies...all this will help you find primary sources
4. Look for primary sources (see Primary Sources tab) - think about what kinds of sources the Library might have? Search OskiCat, and article databases if appropriate, along with some primary source databases as appropriate.
Background sources in American History
Encyclopedia of American Studies (online)
The Bancroft Library - Overview
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