The KU Library Catalog is a gateway to a wide variety of primary sources. It not only lists monographs, but microfilm, videos, periodicals, manuscript collections, and digital collections. The search suggestions listed here can be used in WorldCat and any other library catalog.
- General Keyword Search: A general keyword search is an excellent way to start searching for primary sources. Use the “Set Other Search Limits” to only retrieve materials published since the year of the event/period for which you are searching. For example, if interested in rationing during World War II, set the limits for greater than 1940. Be warned that publication dates for old material might be recent. Thomas Jefferson is the author of seven titles in the KU catalog published since 2000. Utilize the sorting options to arrange results by date.
- Keyword Search: Specific keywords can be used to identify primary sources. Examples of terms that retrieve primary sources: sources, journals, correspondence, personal narratives, diaries, papers, letters, documents, interviews, speeches, and pamphlets. Combine one of these terms with a general subject in the advanced catalog search.
- Author Search: Searching by author identifies works contributed to an individual or an organization. For example, searching "Roosevelt, Eleanor" as an author retrieves materials such as "It's Up to the Women, by Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt." An author search for "Confederate States of America" results in a list of materials published by the Confederacy.
- Subject Headings: Subject headings are an excellent way to identify primary sources, but knowing the correct subject heading can be challenging. For example, the heading for World War I is "World War, 1914-1918." The best way to discover a subject heading is to do a keyword search and then scour the results’ possible subject headings.
- Limiting to Spencer Research Library: Choose the “Set Other Search Limits” button and select Spencer in the location box. Remember, this is not an all-inclusive search of Spencer’s holdings.