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.
InfoGuides | Pepperdine Libraries

HIST 400: Native Americans: Books

This guide will help with your research

Searching for Primary Sources with WorldCat


By using a proper search strategy, the library catalog is an effective tool for lcoating books that are primary sources. WorldCat Local will search for items at the Pepperdine University Libraries and over 70,000 libraries worldwide.

Search by people who witnessed or participated in an event:

  • Edmund Nequatewa (a Hopi scholar)
  • Queen Liliuokalani (last sovereign monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom)
  • Don C Talayesva (Hopi chief)
  • Elias Boudinot (writer and leader of the Cherokee)
  • John Ross (chief of Cherokees)

The Library of Congress assigns subject headings that are useful for restricting your search to primary sources:

  • correspondence
  • diaries
  • early works to 1800
  • interviews
  • pamphlets
  • personal narratives
  • Sources (this subject heading appears to be most useful for locating primary sources on Native Americans)
  • biography (An autobiography is a primary source. Check to see if the author's name also appears in the subject field.)
  • oral history
  • Anthologies

Please note: books with the phrase "documentary history" in the title often contain primary sources.

You can also restrict your search to books that were written at the time of the historical event to limit your results to primary sources.

There are many books that must be searched with name of a specific affiliation (e.g. Lakota) rather than the broader term "Native Americans."

Google Books

Google Book Search allows you to search the full-text of books. Many books in the public domain (not subject to copyright) will be available in the full-text. These older books will be primary sources if they were written by someone who observed or participated in a historical event.
Tips for locating primary sources with Google Books:
  • Click the link for Advanced Search and search with someone who observed or particpated in the event as an author
  • One option for locating primary sources is to set the date range to a time that is relatively close to the historical event that you are researching.

HathiTrust Digital Library is another resource for searching the full-text of books and obtaining the full-text of books in the public domain.