Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Summer IDEaS Research

Your Research Librarian

Getting Started with Local History Research

You are probably familiar with Primo (our one stop search that pulls back results from almost everything we own or subscribe to in the library). However, local history research requires us to use Primo a bit different than we would for a typical research paper. In the past, you might have put a few general search terms into Primo and were inundated with potentially useful results. For example, Climate Change AND Africa AND agriculture brings back a lot of results. Those sorts of general searches will work to some degree, but you'll also need to think much more critically about what types of records were kept, identify where they might reside, and look specifically in those places. Below are a few tips. 

Think Critically about What Information You Need and Where You Might Find It

This guide will help you navigate to some sources that you might need, but it's helpful to first think critically about what you need and where you might find that information.

  1. Do you need secondary scholarly sources to provide context for events or find information about individuals?
  2. Newspapers are rather plentiful during this time period. Will any of the events mentioned have corresponding newspaper articles?  
  3. Are there photographs, maps, or illustrations from this time period?
  4. Are there diaries, letters, college documents, etc. that could help illuminate events within the diary?
Use Subject and Author/Creator searches in Primo

Subject searches and Author/Creator searches are very useful, but it's sometimes hard to figure them out because they are written to standards that you're not familiar with. A quick way to get started with subjects and author/creator searches is to find one record in Primo that is useful and then pay attention to the author/creator and subjects listed in the record. 

Example Subject Searches: