PSCI 443: Politics of Memory

Starting Research

Starting Research

PSCI 443 Starting Research

The focus of this class requires you to work in both familiar and unfamiliar territory. Not only will you be conducting 'everyday' research in books, articles and virtual sources, but now you are expanding into archival research. Many scholars never work in archives, but there are exceptional resources in these special collections. For successful research outcomes, it is important to understand the wonders and limitations of working in archival sources.

First, archives have some basic differences in how they operate and their fundamental principles from libraries. This generates different guidelines on collection content and access.

Note the term "special collections". You will see this term used sometimes interchangeably with "archives". They are related-- archives and special collections are generally capturing history. But a special collection can be materials assembled from many creators with a common subject where archives are generated by an individual or entity and may cover many subjects. In many institutions, the two are housed together and share the same access and usage rules.

Comparing Libraries to Archives/Special Collections

Libraries Archives

Materials are published in multiple copies

Most items are unique

Collect a broad range of information, for entertainment, business, education purposes and each item stands on its own

Narrow focus on specific collections and primary purpose is historical research, important as a group of related items in a historical context

Building is generally open to anyone and materials can be taken from building

Access by appointment, some archives require reference letters, materials do not leave reading room

Weed as needed to keep collection current

Nothing discarded except in the most extreme circumstances
Materials handled with care, but wear and tear is expected

Conservation is a primary concern, requiring special containers, climate control, and handling

Collections are generally open and browseable

Materials are kep in locked space and retrieved on request

Individual items are organized by subject or author using Library of Congress, Dewey Decimal or MESH standards and discovered using an electronic catalog

Collections of items are organized by provenance (creator) and may be searched using finding aids and consultation with the archivist

Digital resources are through licensed user access (databases and e-books)

Archival collections, if digital, are generally free access.

Archival & Primary Sources

Archival & Primary Sources

PSCI 443 Archival and Primary Sources

This page identifies types of primary and archival resources, using Cesar Chavez as the example.

General Sources

Historical newspapers such as the San Diego Union and Los Angeles Times, as well as ethnic or local papers such as found in the Hispanic American Newspapers or Ethnic Newswatch databases.

Look through library catalogs for diaries, memoirs, recollections and correspondence by and about the subject.

Chavez Resources

Cesar Chavez biography

Cesar Chavez Foundation

Cesar Chavez Collection (From the San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive)

FBI Reading Room: Cesar Chavez

United Farm Workers

UFW History

Farm worker Movement Archive (at UCSD)

CSUSM/Chavez Statue

CSUSM Student Newspapers: The First 25 Years

CSUSM Archives: see the record groups for Cesar Chavez Statue and Plaza AND Hispanic Advisory Committee (not digitized)

Search "Cesar Chavez" to find various activities, observances and more



Secondary Sources

Secondary Sources

While researchers find primary source material extremely important, it is also necessary to look at the secondary literature generated through scholarly research. This is not only to see what others have said but develop a full understanding of the topic and possible controversies.

The databases listed here are suggested starting points. A alternate search method is to use the Articles+ search on the library home page. This will return an overwhelming number of results.

Most Useful

Database Full Text Coverage Scholarly
America: History & Life

Abstracts of journal articles covering American & Canadian history, from pre-history to the present.

Links to full-text via Get-It 1964 to current All
San Diego Union Newspaper Archive

Collection of newspapers published in San Diego under various titles, including the San Diego Union.

Full-text 1872 to 1983

Contains (EXCEPT for the latest five years) core scholarly journals in sociology, history, economics, political science, mathematics, African-American & Asian studies, literature, humanities, music, and biological, health & general sciences.

Full-text 1838 to most recent five years Most
Ethnic NewsWatch

Full-text ethnic newspapers, searchable in English or Spanish.

Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It 1992 to current None

Also Useful

Database Full Text Coverage Scholarly

Available via EbscoHost: A comprehensive international database of psychology, covering the academic, research, and practice literature in psychology from over 45 countries in more than 30 languages.

Some full-text; plus links to full-text via Get-It 1887 to current All
Web of Science

Contains citation indexes for Science, Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities, and Book Citations from 2004 to present. Select "Web of Science Core Collection" to conduct cited reference search.

Links to full-text via Get-It 1975 to current All

Chavez Sources

Chavez Sources

PSCI 443-Chavez Resources

Cesar E. Chavez, noted farmworker labor leader, is commemorated at CSUSM by the statue and plaza located between the University Student Union and Science Hall II.

In 1997, after several years work, the statue was unveiled at a dedication ceremony with the Chavez Family, notables such as Dolores Huerta, and community and campus members in attendance.

The University Archives holds materials beginning with the birth of the idea for the statue in 1995. This includes documents and images from the media, California State University and CSUSM, the records from the Hispanic Advisory Council that spearheaded the initiative (1995-1997), and materials from various Cesar Chavez Day observances.

A finding aid to the archival material is here. Note the name is spelled both as Cesar Chavez and César Chávez. If you are searching on the name, it is recommended to do so without the accent marks.

Appointments to view the Cesar Chavez Statue and Plaza collection and related records in the University Archives can be made through this page.

Citing Sources

Citing Sources
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