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Demystifying Primary Sources for Historical Research

Finding Primary Sources in the Library Catalogue

Using “Sources” as a Subject Heading

Primary sources that are gathered and published together in books are given the subject heading “ sources.” They often have the words “sources” or “sourcebook” or “ documents” in their titles.

Sometimes you might have to think more broadly about the category your topic fits into and search accordingly, especially if you are not finding any primary sources related to the subject.

For instance, instead of searching specifically for primary sources on prisoners of war, find collections of primary sources on World War II, a more general topic. Some of these books may contain one or more on your specific topic.

Use the advanced search function in the library catalogue.

Combine the keyword(s) for our topic with the term “sources.”

finding primary sources in the library catalogue by subject

On the next page, use the filters on the left-hand side to limit the number of results. You can refine the list of titles by language, library location, and a more specific subject.

created by: Agatha Barc & Colin Deinhardt | updated: 17 November 2017