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Course & Subject Guides

History Resources @ Pitt

This guide is designed to assist History students on the Oakland campus with their research. Includes links to other history guides.

Locating Primary Sources

Library Catalogs

  • Search PittCat to find primary source materials at ULS libraries.
  • Search WorldCat to find collections at thousands of libraries worldwide. Use the Advanced Search feature to limit by format or publication date.

Finding Aids

A finding aid is "a description of records that gives the repository physical and intellectual control over the materials and that assists users to gain access to and understand the materials." Source: Richard Pearce-Moses. Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology. Chicago: The Society of American Archivists, 2005.

Use finding aids to locate processed archival collections in archives, libraries, and museums. Finding aids are increasingly available online and freely accessible.

Reference & Other Print Sources

Make use of the many excellent print resources that are available to find primary source materials.  These include:

  • Bibliographies
  • Film, Literature, and Periodical Indexes
  • Biographical Resources
  • Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, Handbooks
  • Secondary Sources (search the text, footnotes, and bibliographies for references to primary sources used)

Internet Search Engines

  • Use the Internet to find primary source materials by adding primary source specific terms (see Searching PittCat) to a Search Engine search. For example, "Civil War + Pennsylvania soldiers + diaries."