HIS 300 — Research and Writing: The Great War in History
LIB SOUTH 2037K
Primary and Secondary Sources
Historical research using secondary sources
Finding books at CSUDH
Finding books with worldcat
Inter-Library Loan services
Finding Journal Articles at CSUDH
Primary sources at CSUDH
Historical Newspaper Databases
CSUDH digital archives
Start your research by going to the library home page.
- Main - Here you will find the most-used links and information
- Use the Library - Links to pages which will help you use the library
- Help - Basic Library Information and Help pages
- Services & Depts. - Services the library offers and departmental web pages
Checking out books: You can see what books are available in the Torofind Library Catalog. Once you have found the books you want from the shelves on the 3rd or 4th floor, bring them downstairs to the Circulation Counter to check them out. If you are a new student you might need to register first at the Circulation Counter.
When you are doing research for a History class, you will be using two types of source materials: primary source materials and secondary source materials. To effectively complete the research assignments your professors give you, it is important to understand the difference between the two types.
What is a primary source?
- The "raw materials" of history
- Unprocessed data or accounts of history as it happened
- Examples include memoirs, contemporary news reports, interviews, government reports
What is a secondary source?
- "Processed" history
- Existing research
- Examples include scholarly books, journal articles, presentations and papers
Why does it matter?
In Historical research, both primary and secondary sources can play an important role even at the undergraduate level. In much undergraduate research, only secondary sources are used, as these sources have already put the material into a form that is easy to apply to the goals required by coursework. HOwever, many post-graduate courses will require you to use entirely primary material and come to your own conclusions.
However, history especially places an equal emphasis on the two types of source materials. History cannot be understood without primary sources--the "authentic voices" of history--but at the same time it is easier to understand the broader scope of things by looking at other people's existing research.
For instance, if you were buying a car, you would want to find out what other people who own the car think about it (secondary sources) and you would probably also want to test drive the car (primary source). Doing one or the other would be good, but doing both would give you a much better idea of the car's quality and suitability for your needs. The same is true in historical research.
CSUDH library has a variety of secondary sources available for your use. They include, but are not limited to:
- Books in the library
- Online books
- Journals in the library
- Online article databases
To find books in the CSUDH Library Catalog, go to the library's home page. At the left-hand side of the page you will see a section with the header Find a Book Now. You can use this section to search for books straight from the home page, or you can click on the header to go into the catalog for more detailed searches.
Books are located using the Library's ToroFind catalog. Here you can search for books by author, title or subject. In addition to finding materials available in the CSUDH Library, you will find links that allow you to directly request books from other libraries. Links are provided below for other local libraries and libraries worldwide.
- ToroFind : CSUDH Online Catalog is used to find books and other materials available in the CSUDH Library.
- Ebrary is a growing collection of electronic books on a variety of topics geared to academic libraries and college students. Use the link to access this database. Ebrary books available are listed in the ToroFind Catalog.
- WorldCat can sometimes help you find books in local libraries.
If the CSUDH library doesn't have what you're looking for, don't despair! It's possible you can find it in a public library or another university library nearby.
You can access WorldCat for free by going to http://www.worldcat.org/ anywhere you have Internet access.
Searching Worldcat works much like searching the library's catalog: Just type in either the book name, the author name, or the ISBN and hit search. If there are a lot of similarly-named books, you can use the advanced search options to narrow down your results.
Once you find the book you want, click on it to see a list of which libraries have it. You can click on a library's name to go into their catalog to see if it's checked out or available there.
If nobody nearby has the book, or if you don't have permission to borrow it from them, you can use our Inter-Library Loan (ILL) service.
When you request a book or article through ILL, we will send a request to the closest library which owns a copy. Due to cooperative book-sharing agreements, we can usually get the item you request sent to us for you to borrow.
Note, however, that ILL can take anywhere from 2-7 business days, and occasionally longer. Don't wait until the last minute and assume we can still get it for you in time!
You can access the ILL forms on the ILL web page at http://library.csudh.edu/services/ILL/ or by clicking the "Inter-Library Loan" link on the library's home page.
You can get journal articles by going to the library home page and clicking the Journal Articles & Electronic Resources link under the "Find Journal Articles Now" heading. Click the heading that sounds the most like your situation.
- If you only know what subject you're looking for (e.g. Communication) click I know the subject area I'm looking for articles in.
- If you know which database you want to use (e.g. Mergent Online) click I know the title of the database I want to look in.
- If you are looking for an article from a specific journal (e.g. Risk Management) click I know the title of the journal I want to look at.
- If you aren't sure where to start, click Help! I don't know where to get started! for a tutorial.
Once you are in a database, you can start to search for your article. All databases' search options are slightly different, but they usually include several search boxes you can fill out. Most databases will also let you search only for peer-reviewed or scholarly journals. For your research papers, make sure you check this option!
Articles which you can read in that database will have a link to the PDF full text or the HTML full text. Click on that text link to read the article. Some databases also let you e-mail yourself the files by clicking on an e-mail link.
Some articles will say "Find it @CSUDH Lib" instead of having links to the full text. This means the text of that article is not in the database you are searching. Clicking the red and white button that says this to see a list of which databases do have the full text. If there are no databases containing the article you want, you can request it via Inter-Library Loan.
If you are using an on-campus computer, you can access all of our electronic databases and ebooks without any further steps. Just click on the database name in the Database List and you will go immediately to the search screen.
If you are off campus, you will be prompted to log in using your campus username and password (same information you use to log in to campus email, MyCSUDH and Blackboard). After you enter your username and password, you will be able to access any of our journal article databases and ebooks just as if you were on campus.
There are plenty of books in the library about U.S. History since World War 2 (and further back). Try the following search in the library's online catalog and you will see a list of useful books.
- Go to the library's online catalog
- In the drop-down menu to the left, select "Subject - Subject Words"
- In the text area to the right, type in World War 1914 1918. (or you can click this link)
- Click on any of the subjects to see books in each of the areas listed.
- Once you have a list of books on the screen, you can sort your results with the drop-down menu at the right.
- Select "Sort by year - newest to oldest" to see a list of books with the most recent books first.
Abstracts and Citations
- America: History and Life is a companion database to Historical Abstracts for articles on U.S. and Canadian history. The materials indexed cover pre-history through current times but the articles indexed were published beginning in 1964.
- Historical Abstracts indexes materials published since the 1970s, but covers world history from prehistory through modern times.
- JSTOR is a database contains complete full-text back files (EXCEPT for the latest five years) of core scholarly journals in such areas as sociology, history, economics, political science, African American Studies, sociology, anthropology, etc.
- Project MUSE provides full text articles in major scholarly humanities and social sciences journals.
- Academic Search Premier is a cross-discipline database with articles from thousands of scholarly journals.
- Chronicling America (1880-1922) is an online collection of historical American newspapers freely available on the Library of Congress website.
- The World War I Documant Archive: this archive of primary documents from the Great War period is international in focus. It presents in one location both primary and relevant secondary documents between 1890-1930.
CSUDH also has several ways you can access primary source materials. They include, but are not limited to:
- Historical newspaper databases
- Photographic databases
- CSUDH Digital Archives
- CSUDH Archives
Newspapers can be an excellent primary source. CSUDH has access to some major newspapers going all the way back to the late 1800s.
- Los Angeles Times Historical (1884-1984) -Full Text of the L.A. Times dating back to 1884 .
- New York Times Historical (1851-1980) - The N.Y. Times dating back to 1851.
The CSUDH Archives has several digitally available collections, most of which concern local and regional history (the Los Angeles area and the California area).
You can access the digital collections from anywhere you have internet access by going to: http://archives.csudh.edu:2006/.
Most of the content in these collections are photographic or from manuscripts, which can both provide a unique view into contemporary history.
The CSUDH Archives also has a vast amount of collections that aren't available digitally. While the online collections tend to be photographic, many of the physical ones are unpublished documents, manuscripts, diaries and other important primary source materials.
While there are no collections specficially about World War I and its era, there are a lot of useful collections that you may want to use for other topics in other classes.
You can see a list of the Archives' collections online at http://archives.csudh.edu/speccoll/collections/