Search terms should be the most important words/concepts in your topic.
Then think about the other ideas that are key to your topic and brainstorm synonyms to generate a variety of search terms.
To find primary sources in the library catalogue, such as memoirs, autobiographies, etc., use your search terms, then refine results by genre (look for genre near the bottom on the left hand side of the refining tool).
Within genre, look for correspondence, interviews, personal narratives, and biography can also include autobiographies.
Combine your search terms using AND, OR, NOT:
AND - narrows your search and makes it more specific by finding results with all of your keywords. Example search: apples AND oranges. Items that contain BOTH terms will be found.
OR - can be used to combine synonyms or different terms for the same concept. Example search: oranges OR tangerines OR clementines. Items that contain all of the words will be found.
NOT - used to narrow a search by exclusion. The NOT operator should be used with caution. Example search: apples NOT oranges. Items that contain the word "apples" will be found, but items that contain the word "oranges" will not be found.
* - The * (asterisk) is used to search for alternate endings of words, which will expand your search and look for more options. Example search: Canad*. This search will give you results for Canada, Canadian, Canadians, Canadiana, etc.
" " - The " " (quotation marks) are used to search for an exact phrase. Example search: "indentured servant". The results will contain that phrase, but not items with both words appearing separately.
Newspaper articles, whether they chronicle events or discuss opinions, can be a valuable source of historical information.
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