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English 1520: Creative Nonfiction

Finding Primary Sources in the Library Catalog

Key source for 17th-C British history.  Photo by pobrecito33There are certain words that appear in the subject headings of items in the UM LIBRARIES CATALOG 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.: crusades 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:

  • sources
  • correspondence
  • sermons
  • diaries
  • personal narratives
  • interviews
  • quotations
  • collections
  • speeches
  • manuscripts
  • archives

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.

Biographical Reference Resources

For quick information on a person, see:
Oxford Reference Online
Literature Online - Reference
Gale Virtual Reference Library
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
American National Biography Ready Ref. CT213 .A68 1999
Current Biography Ready Ref. CT100 .C8 

Books & Articles about People

Search Discover@MU for a person, last name first. Once you have results on the screen, change the drop-down menu to subject to make you search more precise.