European national libraries are usually best searched in the languages of the countries involved, though some may have English language interfaces. Try to find out the European-language terms for subjects or periods of interest. For instance, the French term for "interwar period" is L'entre-deux-guerres You can also search names of places, people, individual years, or named events/regimes.
Did you know the MERLIN library catalog will let you limit your search to Special Collections? Here's how to do it.
Get set up to search
Starting from the main MERLIN screen, click on the Advanced tab.
On the Advanced Search page, enter your keywords at the top. You can use the dropdown menu to search within Author, Title, or Subject (Table of Contents and Notes are not advised for Special Collections materials). Or you can leave it open to search all available fields.
Limit your results
Scroll down to Add Limits. Under Specific Library Location, choose MU Ellis Special Coll.
You can use additional limits such as language or year of publication. Because Special Collections holdings include lots of microfilms, it's useful to limit by Material Type.
Hold down the CTRL key to make multiple selections. Some useful limits include:
There are certain words that appear in the subject headings of items in MERLIN that constitute primary sources. The most important of them is sources, but there are others.
In the simple keyword search box, you can put such words after SU: in order to specify the SUBJECT field.
ex.: SU:Paris and SU:sources
In the advanced keyword search, you can put your search term(s) in the top box, and in the second box, put the word(s) you're using to locate primary sources in the next box, and change the drop-down menu to Subject:
Keywords that will help you find primary sources:
Depending on the period being studied, it can also be helpful to limit your search by publication date.
More keywords identifying primary sources in Library of Congress Subject Headings
To find the papers of a historically prominent individual, use the Advanced MERLIN Search. Use the first line to specify the author (surname first, e.g., Jefferson, Thomas) and the second line to specify papers in the title. You can also use the Advanced search to combine any of the above primary source oriented keywords with a particular author.