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Finding Books in the OU Library

One way to find books (and other materials) that could be primary sources is to search the Local Catalog. Try using your topic and one of these keywords:

  • archival materials
  • correspondence
  • diaries
  • interviews
  • manuscripts
  • papers
  • personal narratives
  • sources 

For example, see the results you get with this search: Spain "personal narratives" (The quotation marks tell the search engine to look for the two words together.) Many of the results are memoirs of people in the Spanish Civil War.

Worldcat: Get Books from Other Libraries

Search the Worldcat database to find books held by other libraries. Worldcat is an international catalog of books and other materials owned by thousands of libraries.

You may borrow (interlibrary loan) materials through the Worldcat database. Interlibrary loan is free! But give yourself time for a book to come through the mail.

Please note that occasionally the Worldcat database indicates that the OU library owns an item when the Local Catalog does not list that item. Usually, the item has been reported lost or missing and is no longer available from our library. Please contact me if you have any questions:

Ancient and Medieval History

For instructions on searching the catalog for texts of ancient sources, click here.

Finding Ancient Texts

To find translations of ancient texts try searching the Local Catalog for:

See this guide from the University of Kansas for hints on finding ancient Chinese sources. Search the titles mentioned by Kansas in the Local Catalog.


Another way to find books from earlier time periods is to use a database. 
  • Most of the following databases contain digitized versions of books.
  • Many of the individual titles in these databases are also listed in the Local Catalog.