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Historical Research

guide to select resource for historical research, including online digital collections, and print and microform collections in the Blume Library, including primary sources

Interlibrary Loan

If our library does not have a book or article you need, St. Mary's University students, faculty and staff may order it through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

Don't forget to ask a librarian for help if you have questions.

Terms to help locate primary sources

To find primary sources on you topic, try searching you topic in combination with one of the following search terms that focus on the format.

Search Term When To Use It
sources generic term, often produces the most results
archive use with organizations, individuals and families
archival resources use with topics and geographic areas (counties, cities, etc.)
correspondence use with individuals, familes, classes of people, ethnic groups
diaries use with individuals and families
manuscripts use with individuals
notebooks, sketchbooks, etc. use with individuals
personal narratives use with names of events
personnel records use with organizations and military units
records and correspondence

use with organizations and groups

speeches, addresses, etc

use with individuals or groups


Example Search

A search in or the Library Catalog on the terms "slaves and correspondence" finds books that includes primary source material on African Americans during the Civil War and Reconstruction. You can search for multiple keywords, in the Library Catalog or in Worldcat, by combining multiple terms with the word OR.  Ex: (sources OR correspondence OR diaries OR manuscripts OR narratives OR personnel records OR speeches)

WorldCat interfaces

Access to the Library Catalog from the Blume Library

WorldCat Search Options

WorldCat searches library collections across the United States and the world. 

WorldCat logo

WorldCat Discovery is the public version of WorldCat at WorldCat is linked in Google Books, Goodreads, and more.

The Blume Library also subscribes to WorldCat FirstSearch.  FirstSearch offers precision searching where you can input many types of limits. For instance, you can sort your results by number of libraries that own the item which can impact the ease or challenge of receiving an interlibrary loan.

Get a Public Library Card

You can get a public library card in San Antonio and in Bexar County if you live in the county, including in the St. Mary's University residence halls. Our local public libraries offer databases, books & eBooks, eAudiobooks, videos, and more. 

You should get a local public library card to increase your access to library materials.