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English and Comparative Literature

Research Assistance

Nina Mamikunian

What Are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are documents from the time period, people, and events of the time under consideration. Primary sources can be:

  • diaries or correspondence
  • photographs
  • illustrations
  • newspaper articles (from the time period)
  • manuscripts
  • pamphlets, broadsides, or other ephemera

General Catalogs and Finding Aids

Full-Text Literature and Poetry Online

Spoken Word and Other Audio

Images

Images are becoming easier to find these days, thanks to the Internet. However, you do need to think about copyright if you are going to use images in publications, on web sites, and so on. 

The easiest source for images is to do a Google search and click on Images link near the top of the page. Be careful about trusting the descriptions of these images--they may not be historically accurate. Here are some other, more reliable sources:

UCLA Special Collections

Below are links to primary locations for print special collections of relevance to the study of literature at UCLA. Select online finding aids are also available via the Online Archive of California.

Newspapers

For current newspaper access, your best bet is either to look up the newspaper title in our catalog or search Lexis Nexis or Factiva. For alternative press, you can also try Alt-Press Watch and Ethnic News Watch

Historical newspapers can be more tricky to access. Many have not been digitized, so you may have to look at microfilm or print copies. Some have not even been indexed which means you have to figure out a date or range of dates and browse manually for information. 

Frequently, historians want access to circulation data. This is not easy to get but contemporary circulation data for many papers can be found at the Audit Bureau of Circulation's website: http://abcas3.accessabc.com/ecirc/index.html. The ABC's historical data reaches back as far as 1914 but is only available to Audit Bureau members.

Here are some good historical newspapers available online: