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:
The UC Berkeley Libraries has extensive microform (microfilm and microfiche) collections, containing valuable information for researchers. The following lists of African American microform holdings include much primary source material.
The Newspapers and Microforms Room (40 Doe Library) has machines that read, print, and scan images from microfilm and microfiche.
Microfilm and microfiche owned by the UC Berkeley Libraries can be found through OskiCat; use Advanced Keyword Search to limit your search to "All Microforms." In the News/Micro collection, microfilm rolls and microfiche cards are shelved with their own numbering system; click here for a PDF of the collection's floorplan.
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
UNC North American Slave Narratives Collection
UNC's collection includes books and articles that document the individual and collective story of African Americans struggling for freedom and human rights in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries.
The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition
The Center's online document collection contains over 200 individual items, including speeches, letters, cartoons and graphics, interviews, and articles. This page lists the complete collection. The documents are organized by author, date, subject, and document type.
Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies
Digitally preserved endangered ecclesiastical and secular documents related to Africans and Afro-descended peoples in the Americas.
John Carter Brown Library Online
Preserves and collects books and other recorded information on the discovery and settlement of the Western hemisphere.
These additional guides may help you find what you need.
A bibliography is list of bibliographic citations, (also called Works Cited, Literature Cited , Reference List) at the end of a journal article or book that lists the sources used by an author.
Bibliographies can also be research tools that bring together in one location (either print or electronic) citations from articles, books, book chapters, disserations, conference proceedings, primary matierials, and other academic sources about a specific topic. That topic might be broad, such as "Medieval history" or very narrow, such as "Red-haired women mentioned in courtly litearature."
Bibliographies can be useful for discovering additional sources for your research. Since they include many different types of sources, it is important to be able to identify the type of source from the citation, in order to locate it.
Bibliographies come in different formats. Sometimes they are organized as searchable databases, such as the following:
The Bibliography of Slavery and World Slaving
The Bibliography of Slavery is a searchable database containing verified references (except as noted) to approximately 25,000 scholarly works in all academic disciplines and in all western European languages on slavery and slaving, worldwide and throughout human history, including modern times.
Bibliography of British and Irish HIstory
Lists books, articles in books, articles in some 700 journals; covers historical writing dealing with the British Isles, and with the British Empire and Commonwealth, during all periods for which written documentation is available - from 55BC to the present.
Searching for slavery in Oxford Bibliographies Online will retrieve a wide range of targeted bibliographies on slavery, including the following:
The Atlantic Slave Trade
Bibliographies in the Library's collection can be found by doing a keyword search for the topic combined with bibliography.
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:
Many article databases contain information about articles (citations or abstracts), not the entire text of the article. Once you've used an article database to find articles on your topic, you may need to use this button: in order to locate and read the full text of the article. The UC-eLinks button appears in nearly all the databases available from the UCB Library website.
UC-eLinks will link you to the online full text of an article if UCB has paid for online access; otherwise, UC-eLinks will help you locate a print copy on the shelf in the library. If UCB doesn't own the article in print or online format, UC-eLinks can also help you order a copy from another library.
For more information, watch this video tutorial (about 4 min.)
You can also set up UC-eLinks to work with Google Scholar. For more information, watch this 40-second demo.
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.
HathiTrust (Hathi is pronounced hah-tee) is a partnership of libraries that works towards the goal of developing a shared digital access, preservation, and storage solution for the materials held in the member libraries. The contents of HathiTrust are similar to that of GoogleBooks, but the collecting focus is on scholarly materials and the resource includes content and features (such as indexing and manipulation of results) not available in Google Books.
In the future if you want to edit, change the private/public setting, or delete the collection, your collections will always be listed in the "My Collections" tab whenever you are logged in to HathiTrust.
Google Books contains millions of scanned books, from libraries and publishers worldwide. You can search the entire text of the books, view previews or "snippets" from books that are still in copyright, and read the full text of out-of-copyright (pre-1923) books. Want to read the entire text of an in-copyright book? Use Google Books' Find in a Library link to locate the book in a UC Berkeley library, or search OskiCat to see if UC Berkeley owns the book.
Why use Google Books?
Library catalogs (like OskiCat) don't search inside books; using a library catalog, you can search only information about the book (title, author, Library of Congress subject headings, etc.). Google Books will let you search inside books, which can be very useful for hard-to-find information. Try it now:
Find Dissertations by searching Dissertations and Theses (Dissertation Abstracts) Full Text, which indexes graduate dissertations from over 1,000 North American, and selected European, graduate schools and universities from 1861 to the present. Dissertations published since 1980 include brief abstracts written by the authors and some feature 24-page excerpts. The database offers full text for most of the dissertations added since 1997 and some full text coverage for older graduate works.
Also see Find Dissertations and Theses for other specialized sources. Dissertations completed at UC Berkeley can be found in OskiCat, using the feature allowing you to limit to dissertations/theses:
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.
The Chicago Manual of Style includes two slightly different documentation systems: (1) notes and bibliography (NB) and (2) author-date. The notes and bibliography style is preferred by many in literature, history, and the arts.
In the NB system, you mark within your paper where you have cited something by adding a number, which refers to a detailed reference either at the bottom of the page (footnote) or at the end of the paper (endnote). These notes indicate the specific place in your source you are referencing.
The bibliography includes complete information for each item, with the items arranged in alphabetical order by author's last name.
Purdue's Writing Lab provides an example of a paper formatted using Chicago NB style.
Click on the image below to see a larger interactive version of the campus library map.
Before you can access Library resources from off campus make sure you have configured your computer with proxy server settings.
After you make a one-time change in your web browser settings, the proxy server will ask you to log in with a CalNet ID or Library PIN when you click on the link to a licensed resource.
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:
The Charlene Conrad Liebau 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.
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. Go to my bCal calendar and in the upper right corner choose the WEEK view. Locate a free slot between 9-5, Mon-Fri that works with your schedule. You can propose an appointment in bCal or contact me by email asking me to reserve that slot for you.
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.
If the librarian can't answer you well enough, your question will be referred to a Berkeley librarian for follow-up.
Have fun chatting!
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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