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Primary Sources

How to locate primary sources, sometimes called primary documents.

Your tips: What went right, what you'll do differently...

Leave a Comment and share your experiences working with print indexes at our library

"What's the difference between a citation from the online Historical Abstracts and one from the print Reader's Guide?

Here is a typical Historical Abstracts citation.  What information does it supply?  How does that help you?


Compare with this Reader's Guide citation.  how is this page organized?  What information does it supply, and what additional steps would you need to take to get the article?

Journals Location PRACTICE

Select the Journals tab from our website and see if you can locate where the oldest issues of these magazines are located.

TIP: You may have to click into the catalog and click ALL ITEMS from the citation to see where all the issues are kept!

  • Punch (London)
  • The Living Age
  • The Outlook
  • Harper's Magazine
  • Literary Digest
  • Atlantic Monthly
  • The Nation
  • Scribner's Magazine
  • Vanity Fair
  • Yale Review

Which Paper Indexes will help me find older magazine, journal and newspaper articles?"

How to use a paper periodical index to find an article

STEP 1: Open up the volume with the year(s) that you want to search

STEP 2: Look through the article listings

  •  Each volume is arranged alphabetically by subject
  • You may need to look under more than one heading!


STEP 3: Copy down the publication information 

  • Many indexes use an abbreviated form of the periodical.  Look up the complete title in the front of the index


STEP 4: Use the Journals tab on our website and/or the Library Catalog to find out if we have the periodical and where it is.  Paper collection? Microfilm? Online?

STEP 5: We don’t have it?  Fill out an ILLIAD request form.  We’ll request it from another library and send it to you!


 Selected Paper Indexes from Our Collection


The Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature.  1900 - 1999. Reference Collection AI 3 .R48


Poole's Index to Periodical Literature.  Reference Collection AI 3 .P7 1938


Palmer’s Index to the Times Newspaper. 1790 – 1939.  Reference Collection AI 21.T5

The Times Index. Reference Collection AI 21 T46

Book Review Digest.  1905 – 2001.  Reference Collection Index Shelf 9, REF Z1219.C96