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History

Tips for historical research

Search It and Primary Sources

Screenshot of Search It Advanced Search screen

Advanced Search: Primary Sources Search Terms

Use the Advanced Search screen in Search It to locate primary sources in K-State Libraries' collection.

1. Enter search terms that describe your topic (example: Japanese Americans) in one box.

2. Enter search terms for primary sources in a second box. Possible terms include:

  • sources
  • papers
  • letters 
  • narratives
  • diaries
  • records

Combine the primary source terms using the word OR (example: sources OR papers OR letters OR diaries)

Primary sources in Databases

In addition to our University Archives and Special Collections we have been adding a slew of primary source databases to our collections. We've organized them in our databases by assigning the "primary sources" tag to databases with primary-source materials.  Here are just a few examples:

Finding archives and digital collections online

Googling is a great way to find archives and digital collections online. However, sometimes these collections are hidden several levels deep and aren't readily unearthed by Google.

Here are questions to help locate a digital collection or archive:

  • Who cares about this topic? Look for associations and historical societies.
  • Is there a city, town, country associated with your topic? Do they have an archive, library, or museum that might store the collection?
  • Was a government entity involved, like the Marines, a governor, or the Bureau of Indian Affairs? Check out National Archives and Records Administration or the relevant state archives.
  • Was a corporation or other large entity involved? Look on their website to see if they have historical documents or refer you to a university or other special collection that may have their records.

Libraries rock. Try this fun Google search to learn if librarians at another university created a research guide on your topic: topic site:.edu inurl:lib
This search is telling Google to look for your topic on library websites (inurl:lib) at universities (site:.edu).

For example, I'm researching death rituals. Here's a search I can try in Google: death rituals site:.edu inurl:lib. And from it, I discover a class guide at the University of Minnesota that, while it concentrates on current death and dying issues, also indicates resources for traditional rituals.