Public records are important resources in researching the history of specific places. Local government agencies often maintain useful records, for example, building and water or utility permits and city block books. Note that older records may be held in preservation directory.com or public library special collections. Federal agencies also have materials related to historic buildings and places. Refer to the section Archives & Special Collections for a list of local collections and archival sources.
The Investigative reporter's handbook: a guide to documents, databases and techniques. Brant Houston, Len Bruzzese, 4th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2002. See especially the section on "Who owns the land?," pp. 474-478.
Paper trails: a guide to public records in California. Stephen Levine and Barbara T. Newcombe. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Center for Investigative Reporting; Sacramento: California Newspaper Publishers Association, 1996.
Public record directory (Search Systems) A directory of links to free public record databases on the Internet.
Local and federal government publications can be great primary sources on the history of city planning in specific places. Use them to find records of public policy and community perspectives on diverse land use and community development issues. Many government documents are listed in The Library's catalogs; start with the Oskicat catalog for complete coverage of the UC Berkeley campus libraries.
U.S. government agencies and departments (UC Berkeley, Library)
Index to current urban documents - UCB Only NY: Greenwood Pr. A unique collection of American and some Canadian local government publications, including city, county and regional plans. Selected California reports from this collection are also available in the Environmental Design Library (Microfiche 10010).
LexisNexis--Congressional - UC Only A surprising amount of city- and community-level information is available in U.S. Congressional publications. This database provides indexing and abstracts of congressional publications back to 1789, thefull text of many congressional committee reports and testimony since 1994, and much more.
General plans, comprehensive plans, master plans—often the only record of a community's formal physical and public policy intentions—by any name local plans are excellent primary sources for history of planning research. Technically a category of government publications, general plans are so valuable for history of 20th century city planning research that they merit their own section.
Finding general plans (UC Berkeley, Library) A guide to finding general plans; includes strategies and sources. A good starting place for understanding and locating general plans.
The Institute of Governmental Studies Library (IGSL) maintains the most comprehensive collection of California city and county planning documents on the UC Berkeley campus. Ranging from the 1940s to the present, the collection is fully cataloged and does not circulate. Since 1983 catalog records have appeared in the Melvyl catalog; earlier catalog records are in the Library's card and book catalogs.
The California Local Planning Documents Database is an index of California general plans owned by IGSL. The database may be accessed at IGSL or online. Current planning documents are the primary focus of the database. Includes addresses of planning agencies.