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Primary Sources | Research by Subject | Library & Information Access | San Diego State University

Primary Sources

Finding Books in Special Collections at SDSU

Special Collections and University Archives houses rare, fine, unique, and valuable books, periodicals, manuscripts, and documents which require security and care in handling. Other valuable historical materials such as photographs, prints, postcards, memorabilia, scrapbooks, and oral histories are also held in Special Collections. Our materials are easy to find in the library catalog.

1. At the Advanced Search, type in your keyword(s).
2. Under Location, select Special Collections.
3. You can limit your search by Material Type, Language, and even Year Range.
4. Sort the Search Results by Relevance, Year, or Title. The Year option is particularly helpful for Special Collections materials.
5. Browse results.

Example: If you were looking for primary sources from or about the Civil War, type the keywords "civil war" and "United States" into the keyword search boxes (with quotes). Highlight "Special Collections" under Location. Click on Search. Results include archival collections, maps, and books. Sort your results by year, and go to the last page to view sources produced during or around the Civil War (1861-1865) held in Special Collections. Try adding keywords like "speech," "correspondence," "letters," or "narrative" to refine your search.

Posted: 2009-08-06