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HIS 4575 America in the 1960s: Finding Web Resources

Search Strategies for Primary Sources plus Citation Information for History

Places to Start

Online Archival Collections - see below for searching tips

Searching for Archival Collections Online

When searching for archival collections about specific topics, try puting the topic phrase in quotation marks and adding the term "archives" to your search.

See the How to Search Google More Effectively box to the right for other search strategies.

Primary Documents on the Internet

When searching for primary sources on the Internet, keep the following in mind:

  • determine where the document came from; the source of the material should be clearly stated on the site
  • scanned images of documents are best; a scanned image will show what the original looks like
  • transcribed documents are less helpful; they do not illustrate the original, but render the document in plain text, which may or may not be accurate
  • the most useful sites will have a scanned image of the document and will also have a transcription that is searchable
  • if the document is linked from another site, cite the original website for the document

For more information, see this American Library Association site

Paraphrased from ALA's "Using Primary Sources on the Web"

How to search Google more effectively

Focused Searches

  • Quotation marks (“”) for exact phrases

            Example: "Seattle Pacific University Library"

  • Minus sign (-) for NOT

            Example: football -soccer

  • Asterisk (*) for truncation

            Example: educat* encompasses education, educate, educator, educational

  • Brackets ([ ]) for when your terms include Boolean operators or quotation marks. 

            Example: [to be or not to be] [give me liberty or give me death]

Domain and Site Searching:

         To filter by site type, use the suffix site:.xyz

         For example: “Trail of Tears” site:.gov; Microfinance site:.org

Finding Specialized Information

      To locate a site that focuses on a topic, search like this:

      Association “subject” or “subject” site:.org

       For example: association “hiking” or "homelessness" site:.org;