Reference books (and e-books) like the ones listed below help researchers contextualize their topics and in turn begin to ask the right questions. Reference books set the stage for more efficient database searching; researchers cannot elicit relevant search results if they don't know which keywords (or search terms) to use. Last but not least, scholarly reference books often contain bibliographies that lead researchers to the most respected secondary and most useful primary sources. In short, reference books are a great way to begin your research.
Use this guide to find World War II-era primary documents.
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Many primary-source documents from World War II have been reproduced in books commonly held in research libraries. Search Diamond to retrieve this material. Begin by taking just a few minutes to understand Library of Congress Subject Headings, or LCSH for short. Subject headings are "tags" applied by professional librarians to records in library catalogs. They are similar to but more specialized than the tags used in blogs and other Web 2.0 applications. Subject headings offer researchers accurate descriptions of books owned by the Libraries. The standard subject heading for World War II is:
Over 9,000 books and other sources in Diamond have been "tagged" with this subject heading. Narrow your search with designated subheadings for primary-source material: Sources, Correspondence, Diaries, Interviews, and Personal Narratives. Begin by exploring the books and other sources revealed in the following custom Diamond keyword searches. Note that adding a third search term -- for instance, AND occupation -- will narrow your search even further.
Librarians have created subject headings for books that deal with the history of the German occupation in each of the conquered European countries. Although many of the titles assigned to these subject headings are secondary sources, consult the books' bibliographies to identify primary-source material.