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HST 425: Modern France: Revolutionary Era and Napoleon

Primary Source Searching: Primo (library catalog)

Primo, the library catalog, provides access to books, articles, online videos, and a number of other resources. This page shows you how to search the catalog for primary sources.

If you need additional help, please contact Sue Kunda at or 503-838-8893

Primary Source Keywords

Finding primary sources in the library catalog requires you add specific keywords to your "main topic" search. Those keywords include:

  • sources
  • interviews
  • diar* (this keyword using * will retrieve results for both diary and diaries)
  • autobiograph* (this keyword using * will retrieve results for autobiography and autobiographies)
  • correspondence
  • personal narratives
  • pamphlets
  • speeches
  • documents
  • archives
  • maps

For literary works as primary sources, try these search phrases.  Square brackets indicate that this is an example that you can modify with a parallel geographic area or adjective.  Ex. [French] can be replaced with [Morracan]. 

  • [French] [poetry] women authors
  • short stories [france] 
  • fiction
  • essays
  • drama
  • prose literature


Starting Your Search

Starting your search for primary sources, in Primo, begins the same way as a search for a book or an article. The catalog is set to General Search by default, but you should open the Advanced Search box.


The Advanced Search box looks like this:                         Image of Advanced Search box


Place your keywords/phrases in the search boxes. Use one search box for each keyword/phrase. You can put multiple synonyms or related terms on the same line, but make sure to use "OR" between them. See the example below.

Main topic search in Primo with keywords added


Click "Search". Once you've done this initial search, you can use filters to further refine your results. See below.

Filtering, Understanding, and Accessing Your Results

Filtering your results will narrow your search and should retrieve even more relevant items. Read more below:

Filtering Results (Books, Book Chapters, and Ebooks)

Filtering Results (Journal Articles)


To understand more about the items your search retrieved read below:


Journal Articles


There are several ways to access items you find in Primo (the library catalog). Read more below:

Accessing Books

Accessing Print Books

Accessing Ebooks and Ebook Chapters

Accessing Journal Articles

Accessing Full Text Journal Articles

Accessing Journal Articles With No Full Text