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You can still access the UC Berkeley Library’s services and resources during the closure. Here’s how.

Finding Historical Primary Sources: Search Tools

A guide to finding primary sources in history at the UC Berkeley Libraries

Searching Catalogs for Primary Sources

To find books, DVDs, government documents, maps,  manuscripts, and much more - everything except articles - use a library catalog.

Catalogs also list collections of manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, and records of organizations, but they do not list individual items in those collections.

OskiCat = most UC Berkeley libraries

MELVYL = all UC campus libraries, including all UC Berkeley libraries.  Use the Request button to borrow items from another UC campus.

What's the difference?  more details here


Searching Article Databases for Primary Sources

To find magazine, journal or newspaper articles: use an article database. Article databases allow you to search for articles by topic, author, etc. Some (not all) article databases link to the full text of articles.

Primary Source Databases (all), including newspaper databases.

Primary Source Databases in American History

Newspaper Databases (all time periods)

Look carefully at the description of each database. Note:

  • what years of publication are included
  • what types of materials are included
  • does the database cover a particular academic discipline (such as History) or whether it is interdisciplinary

In some article databases you may click on the image button, which will either locate the full text of the article online, or allow you to search OskiCat to determine if the magazine or newspaper title is located on campus.

Online Archive of California & Calisphere

oac home page

Guides to over 20,000 collections housed in 200 libraries, archives, historical societies, special collections and museums across California are searchable at the  Online Archive of California (OAC). Collection guides, also known as finding aids, are descriptive guides to archival (primary source) collections. These collections may be physically located in archives or digitized on the web. The guides help users learn more about the scope of a collection so they know if it is likely to meet their research needs.

calisphere home page

Digitized versions of photographs, documents, newspapers, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, and other cultural artifacts that are contributed by these California institutions to the OAC make up the content included in Calisphere.