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Primary Sources – United States and California History: Locating Primary Sources at Foothill Library

The purpose of the guide is to help users identify, locate, and use primary sources in their historical research.

Finding Primary Sources in Books at Foothill Library

Conducting a "subject search" in the Library Catalog using certain terms will steer your search to primary source material. Use the terms alone to retrieve primary sources on a variety of subjects, or with topical terms to find primary sources on a specific subject.

personal narratives

Conduct a Search for a Primary Source in the Library Catalog

To conduct a search for primary sources in the Library Catalog, use the search box below.


Type in one of the search terms or phrases listed above, such as "Personal Narratives," and click on "Search."  The search for "personal narratives" will result in over 350 books.  Search for two search terms or phrases, such as "Personal Narratives" and "United States Civil War."  This search will result about 15 titles, including the three books pictured below.

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Some search results will be in e-book format, where contents of the book can be viewed directly from the Library Catalog.

Also try these searches through the "EBooks" link on the library homepage.

Finding Primary Sources in Foothill Library Databases

Find Primary Resources using Online Databases at Foothill Library.

The databases below are comprehensive collections containing full text periodicals, scholarly works, reference books and primary resource documents. Each search result highlights different types of resources found including primary sources. For a complete list of databases and electronic resources see A-Z List of Online Databases and Online Resources

EBSCO Discovery Service

One search — many resources! EBSCO Discovery Service allows you to search not only our full collection of EBSCO databases, but the complete library catalog, eBook collections, and many other database collections as well.

Search Multiple Databases