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Box Repository: Search tips

Repository of different types of boxes and content. Go into your guide and "Add New Box" and select "Reuse Existing Box" to link to boxes here. Boxes on your page will be updated automatically when box updates occur.

Finding Primary Sources in Diamond: the Libraries' Catalog

Search Diamond to find primary sources in books and other printed works. 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 precise and systematically applied than the tags you are probably already familiar with in blogs and Web 2.0 sites such as Facebook and Flickr.

Such tags offer researchers accurate descriptions of books and other library resources. Critically, subject headings provide information about the type of work described: primary source, biography, bibliography, etc. Remember that the term Sources is used as a subheading in LCSH to identify primary-source material. Other primary-source subheadings include Personal Narratives, Correspondence, and Diaries.

Example: A researcher needs to find primary-source documents on the U.S. Civil War. The most relevant subject heading is:

United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources.

A long and complicated "tag," granted, and not very intuitive! Fortunately, the researcher effectively needs to know only that Sources is used as a subheading to identify primary works. The following keyword searches reveal citations to books that contain U.S. Civil War primary documents.

  1. "Civil War" AND "United States" AND s:Sources
  2. "Civil War" AND "United States" AND s:Diaries
  3. Reconstruction AND s:Sources
  4. Gettysburg AND s:"Personal Narratives"
  5. Confederate AND s:Correspondence

    Note: In the examples above, placing "s:" before the search terms Sources, Diaries, Personal Narratives, and Correspondence instructs the catalog to return only records that contain those terms in the subject field; this technique improves search relevance but is optional.

      Combining Search Terms with "AND" & "OR"

      Search Shortcuts

      Good for phrases and titles.

      Example: "film adaptation"

      Photo by Studio Biyan. Available on Flickr

      Good for word variations

      Example: theat*
      finds theater, theatre, theatrical, etc.

      Photo by kerry campbell. Available on Flickr

      Good for spelling variations.

      Example: wom?n
      finds women, woman, womyn, etc.

      Photo by Don Moyer. Available on Flickr