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Primary & Secondary Sources

This guide will help you learn the difference between primary and secondary sources in various subject areas and provides resources for locating primary sources, both in the library and on the open web.

Local & California History Resources from the Fresno State Library

Digitized Collections The Fresno State Library has developed these online collections with partners inside the library, at California State University Fresno, and in the local community. Digitized collections reflect the depth of the local library collections as well as the creativity of the California State University Fresno community and the greater community of the Central San Joaquin Valley.

San Joaquin Valley Japanese Americans in WWII eCollection This digital collection contains oral histories of Japanese Americans who were sent to internment camps during World War II.

Hammer Field eCollection Photographs of Hammer Field which was the site of a World War II Army Air Corps base and then became the Fresno Air Terminal. It is now the Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

Local, Regional and California History A description of some of the sources available in the Special Collection Research Center. These can be viewed by visiting in person.

Fresno State University Archives The University Archives is the official repository for the historical records of the university. It serves to document the functions and activities of the university community since its inception. In addition to housing all course catalogs, yearbooks and staff and student directories, the archives includes, for example, reports of university committees, departmental records, files of student organizations and the personal papers of certain faculty members, administrators and alumni. There is also a faculty books collection that has been cataloged.

Fresno State Centennial Digital Photo Project
Contains thousands of photos from the Fresno State University Archives.

Central Valley Political Archive
The mission of the Central Valley Political Archive is to document twentieth-century political life in the San Joaquin Valley of California by collecting the personal papers of state legislators and United States congressmen from California representing the region.

Other Sources of Local & California History

Fresno Historical Society Resource for California and Central Valley history. Visit to access manuscripts, photographs and much more.

Online Archive of California (OAC) Provides free public access to detailed descriptions of primary resource collections maintained by more than 200 contributing institutions including libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies, and museums throughout California and collections maintained by the 10 University of California (UC) campuses.

Calisphere Calisphere is the University of California's free public gateway to a world of primary sources. More than 200,000 digitized items — including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts — reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history. Calisphere's content has been selected from the libraries and museums of the UC campuses, and from a variety of cultural heritage organizations across California.

Regional Oral History Office (ROHO) A research program of the University of California, Berkeley, working within The Bancroft Library. ROHO conducts, teaches, analyzes, and archives oral and video history documents in a broad variety of subject areas critical to the history of California and the United States.

California Digital Newspaper Collection The California Digital Newspaper Collection contains over 400,000 pages of significant historical California newspapers published from 1846-1922, including the first California newspaper, the Californian, and the first daily California newspaper, the Daily Alta California. It also contains issues of several current California newspapers that are part of a pilot project to preserve and provide access to contemporary papers.

California Heritage Collection, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley Online archive of more than 30,000 images illustrating California's history and culture, from the collections of the Bancroft Library. Selected from nearly two hundred individual collections, this unique resource uses the latest online archiving techniques to highlight the rich themes of California's history.