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ZSR Library

HST 265: US History 1933 to 2016

Spring 2023

Tips for Locating Primary Sources

Choose historically appropriate keywords. For example, use "Great War" instead of "World War I" to locate documents discussing the war during and just after it occurred. You may also consider different terms that might have been used to describe the same event from opposing sides or perspectives. Searching for the names of particular people or places may also be effective. 

Think about what types of primary sources might have been produced that would be relevant to your topic; think also about which persons or organizations might have produced materials. Some possible types of sources:

Books  Photographs and images
Magazine and newspaper articles Cartoons and advertisements 
Diaries and journals  Movies, videos, and DVDs
Memoirs and autobiographies Audio recordings
Interviews Public opinion polls
Letters  Fiction
Speeches  Research data and statistics
Documents produced by organizations Documents produced by government agencies,
including congressional hearings and census records 

To locate potential primary sources in the library's online catalog, look for subject headings that contain terms such as diaries, letters, correspondence, autobiography, interviews, or personal narratives following the main heading. 

Course Guide

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Kathy Shields
453 ZSR Library

ZSR Special Collections & Archives

ZSR's Special Collection and Archives may contain useful materials on your topic. There are a variety of ways to search these materials, depending on their format. The SCA website contains more information about hours and research help. 

1. Search SCA materials (including books) in the library catalog. These include rare books from Britain and Ireland going back to the 18th century. 


2. Search SCA finding aids to locate materials in collections that are not digitized. (Visit the Special Collections and Archives room in ZSR 625 for help using finding aids!)

Find Primary Sources


The resources listed below are just a few of the online primary source resources available through ZSR Library and on the web. If you are unable to find information on your topic, schedule a personal research session with a librarian for more help! 


To locate a particular newspaper, search for the title in Find a Journal. You will see options for both print and electronic access, if available. 

Statistics & Data

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