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:
Internet Search Engines
PittCat is the main searching tool for all of the materials owned by the University Library System (ULS), including articles, books, ebooks, journal articles, ejournals, audio and video, digital images, government documents, microfilm and movies.
Signing into PittCat gives you access to the most results. The sign in option is in the upper right hand corner of your screen.
To begin a search, enter a term in the “search anything” box. You can select Books, Articles, and More to search for items across the entire library system including journal articles, images, ebooks, and more. Use the Library Catalog option to search for items available both electronically and physically in our libraries such as books, videos, music scores and more. The Course Reserves option will help you find materials put on reserve by instructors for a specific course.
The Results Screen shows you a list of items with basic information--click on a title to get a more detailed overview of the item you’ve selected. This detailed view gives you much more information about the item. You can see where the item is located and ways to email or print the record as well as how to cite. You may also see an abstract for the item or a table of contents if available.
You can Refine Your Results by using the menu on the left. If you only want a physical copy of the book pick “library holdings” or if you want an electronic copy of a book, choose e-book.
If Full-Text Content is available, you can get the full-text by clicking on the item title or the "available online" link.
You can add Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT) into the Simple Search (the default search box) by adding them in all caps.
Adding primary source-related keywords to your PittCat search will help you to more easily locate primary source materials. For example, if you need primary sources on the American Civil War, search the phrase "United States Civil War" with the keyword "diary" (i.e., "United States Civil War" diary). Other keywords that can be used to locate primary sources are: