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21H.351 (Spring 2017): Shanghai and China’s Modernization, 1840-2010: Find Primary Sources

Books & Films

To find book primary sources, use library catalogs like Barton and MIT's WorldCat.

  • Do subject searches for topic + genre: 
    • Subheadings such as "correspondence," "history sources," "personal narratives," "pictorial works," "biography," and "speeches" can point to primary sources.
    • Pair these subheadings with keywords or topical subject headings in Barton to identify relevant sources in the MIT Libraries.
    • See this table for other possible subheadings.
    • For example, do this advanced search to get historical first-hand accounts from people in Shanghai:
      • Keyword = Shanghai
      • Subject words = "Personal narratives"
  • Do advanced searches in Barton for relevant subjects and keywords with publication date limits. 
    • For example, do this advanced search to find books about Shanghai published during the Sino-Japanese War and World War II:
      • Keywords = Shanghai
      • Year from = 1937
      • Year to = 1945
  • To find fiction or films in Barton, you can use the subheadings "Fiction" and "Feature films." 
    • For example, do this advanced search:
      • Subject words = Fiction
      • With one of these:
        • Subject words = Shanghai
        • Place of publication = Shanghai
        • Keyword = Shaghai [this broad search will search the whole record and would pick up "Shanghai" in the table of contents]
  • You could also search for films in Kanopy, a film streaming company that the MIT Libraries subscribe to.

Online Primary Sources - MIT subscriptions

Online Primary Sources - Free Web Sites

Digital Primary Sources from the Boston Public Library

With a BPL card or e-card, you can access a wealth of online historical primary sources.

Primary Sources at Harvard

Tip: Follow the Footnotes!

It's not cheating to check the footnotes and bibliographies in your secondary and reference sources (books, journal articles, and encyclopedias) to identify primary sources for your own work. Following footnotes is an approach used by many scholars to identify not only relevant seconary literature, but also primary source bases.