Start on the Classic Catalog page to search for books. Click on the tab on the QuickSearch box on the main library webpage, or click this link.
This link is to the Library of Congress (LC) guide that explains how books are organized in UW Libraries. It is difficult to simply shelf browse looking for books. You need to use the catalog until you gain a better idea of where the books you might want are located. When you find one useful book, be sure to look to the left and right, as well as up and down to see other titles organized by that subject listing.
Subject listings are a useful way to find related books on a topic.
If the UW Libraries do not have the book (either checked out or not in the collection), click on the "Prospector" button to repeat the search in our partner libraries in Colorado. The "Prospector" system is the quickest way to borrow books. Please note that borrowing ebooks is possible but difficult. It is often better to try to get a print copy.
If the Prospector system does not have the title you want, search for the book in libraries nationwide using the "WorldCat FirstSearch" database. When you find a book you want, locate the brown and gold "UW Loan" link on the page to initiate an interlibrary loan (ILL). If you are unfamiliar with ILL, click this link to learn more.
Reference books such as unique encyclopedias or dictionaries are a fantastic way to locate background information. The articles are written by subject-matter experts and are very useful for identifying people, places, and events. If you find a useful source, be sure to check the bibliography for the sources.
Here are a few recommended titles available at UW Libraries.
One way to identify books that are primary sources is to look for books written by people who were involved in the event or activity you are researching. When you look at secondary sources, write down the names of people and then look for them as authors.
In the UW Libraries Catalog, books that have been assigned subject heading could be primary sources. Use the library catalog "Subject" search to locate items. Consider using some of the following subheadings in a search.
Fighter Pilots -- United States -- Biography
Soldiers -- Alabama -- Correspondence
War Correspondents -- United States -- Interviews
African American Sailors -- Diaries
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Personal Narratives, American
United States. Army. Women's Army Corps -- Biography
World War, 1939-1945 -- Cryptography -- History -- Sources
For information about the difference between primary and secondary sources, refer to this guide.