For searching primary sources use specific words with your search: sources, correspondence, memoirs, letters, personal narratives, diaries, speeches, wills, etc., either as subject words or keywords. For example, "iwo jima" personal narratives.
As with secondary sources, Library of Congress subject headings can be useful for identifying additional primary sources. When you find a book of primary documents, use the subject headings found in the Details field. Some examples include the links below.
AND will search for BOTH of the words together (Japan AND "atomic bomb" will bring back resources that have both of those words, not one or the other)
OR will search for EITHER of the words (this is good for when you have synonyms, or want to search for multiple places or people at once. Example: "internment camps" AND (wwii OR "world war two"); wwii AND (photo* OR poster OR postcard)
Use quotation marks around phrases to search for words that you would expect to appear together. (e.g. "atomic bomb" or "internment camp")
Use an asterisk * to truncate a word and allow for variant endings or spellings: (japan* for japan, japanese).
Use specific names, events, or time periods to avoid being overwhelmed by extraneous results; this is especially important when searching for primary sources.
Use the FACETS on the left side of the screen to refine your search by resource type, date, subject area, and more. You can also refine so that it shows you only sources online at WSU.
When you locate relevant items in your search results, open the full record to look at the subject headings listed under the "Details" section in the Search It record. You can click on relevant subject headings to see other titles with the same heading, or reuse them in a new search that incorporates additional keywords.
Use reference lists/bibliographies in relevant works to locate other research materials.
As we cannot currently browse the physical shelves in the library, Search It has a 'Browse Library Shelves' feature within each item record (scroll to the bottom), visually displaying the books located next to your book on the shelves.
Use reference lists/bibliographies to locate other research materials (chaining): locate a book that has potential for your topic or interests. Scan the reference list to look at the sources used for the author's research; do title keyword searches in the library catalog to locate the article, dissertation, or book.
Search primary sources by adding the following to your keyword search in Search It: sources, correspondence, letters, personal narratives, diaries, church records, wills, documents etc. For example: "internment camp" AND letters.
Relevant Subject Headings
Below are just a few subject headings that might provide you with additional sources: