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  • SN-0067 Locating Primary Sources

This wiki space contains archival documentation of Project Bamboo, April 2008 - March 2013.

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Locating Primary Sources

Collection Date: March 10, 2009
Scholar #1 Info: (if more than one scholar's process is described, copy this set for each scholar)

  • Name: Sue Schweik
  • Email:
  • Title: Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities, Professor of English
  • Institution/Organization: UC Berkeley
  • Field of Study/Creative Endeavor: Disability Studies

Collector Info (can be the same as "Scholar" above):

  • Name: Rich Meyer
  • Email:
  • Title: Project Bamboo Program Manager
  • Institution/Organization: University of California, Berkeley
  • Name: Connor Riley
  • Email:
  • Title: Graduate Student Researcher, School of Information
  • Institution/Organization: University of California, Berkeley

Notes on Methodology:

The collectors recorded this interview; delineated various workflows discussed in the interview and wrote them using quotes from the interview. These were then reviewed and edited by the interviewee before being posted.


The scope section is provided by the collector, with input from the scholar(s), and attempts to estimate the scope of the group that performs the processes described: How broadly do the practices described in this narrative apply to others in same field, in related fields, etc?

  1. In the opinion of the scholar, who participates in the process the story describes?
    (e.g. "just this scholar", "many people in the scholar's field of inquiry", "all academics", etc.)
  2. What is this process intended to accomplish for the scholar?
  3. Who is the intended audience of the processes described?
  4. Is this the only process the scholar uses to accomplish his/her goals?
  5. What "shared services" would help transform the story into something of more benefit for the scholar or his/her audience?  What process or processes in the story could be automated?


Please provide some keywords that will allow us to group or cluster related stories--or aspects of stories.

1. Was this story collected for a particular Bamboo working group?  If so, please include, as keywords, the appropriate group(s).

  • Education
  • Institutional Support
  • Scholarly Networking
  • Shared Services
  • Scholarly Narratives
  • Tools and Content Partners

2. Suggested keywords: Does this narrative contain elements that could be mapped to these keywords?  If so, please indicate which ones and briefly describe the mapping.  Add any additional keywords in #3. (These are global keywords from this page keywords)

3. Please list additional keywords here:


In my research and writing focused around Disability Studies, a large portion of my time is focused around finding new primary sources of information on a topic of inquiry. Since there are relatively few collections focused particularly on Disability Studies (especially outside of UC Berkeley), I draw documents and information from many disparate collections with a variety of focuses. I may find these collections through proximity and word of mouth, such as the archives or oral history collection at the Bancroft Library or the Black Panther archive at Stanford, or I may find them through trails of inquiry stemming from some scholarly source. 
In finding scholarly sources, I will use library resources as well as digital sources like Jstor and Lexis Nexis, as well as Google Scholar and Google Books. One scholarly resource will provide me with a list of citations; I can then look up the cited works to find more related information. When using the search capabilities of an online repository, I find that some require specialized knowledge of how to search in order to get the results I'm looking for. For instance, legal documents and information are often of interest to me, but not having a legal background can limit my knowledge of which terms to search for. 
When finding sources in a library's collection, I appreciate being able to search within a digital catalog, but often libraries do not have their holdings digitally cataloged. In these cases I might have to ask a librarian to act as my proxy in locating a specific document, or I may have to visit the library in order to manually copy down any portion of the document I think I might need. 
In cases where I am using a film as a source of information, the film may be old enough that it is difficult to view the film at all for reasons of preservation; often older films are too delicate to have been digitized. I would love to be able to show clips from these archived films in my lectures, but it is usually not a possibility.


One useful capability I've encountered when using specialized digital collections is the ability to 'ask a librarian' a question in real time. It's extremely helpful to have access to an expert in fields I'm not familiar with when searching through a digital collection. 

For film sources, I would like to see greater digital access to film archives and have the ability to link to a single scene or section of a film, so I could specifically make a reference to it in a lecture or a paper. 

Other Comments:

The information below was comprised when transcribing the interview, to make sure pieces were not missing.  If it is unhelpful, please disregard.


Identify topic of interest 
Find scholarly sources and follow citation trails to discover new documents 
Browse library holdings online or in person 
Search for related information using digital tools 
Duplicate necessary portions of sources, if possible, for later citation 

Ingredients: Tools and Content

Google books 
Google scholar 
Google news archive 
Google search 
census records 
library archives 
Digital library catalogs 
Library of Congress film archive 
Lexis Nexis



Example Link