Lesson Four

Searching the Library of Congress Digital Collections


The collection of primary resources depicting the history of the United States is so large that it requires some search strategies to successfully find the desired primary source materials you are looking for. In this lesson you will review a number of search strategies for locating and accessing primary sources from the American Memory collections.



  • Practice search strategies within American Memory (topic, time, place etc.)
  • Complete a search for various types of primary sources using the same subject
  • Perform an Advanced Google Search to locate primary source materials from the Library of Congress


Activity 1

Conducting an Advanced Google Search

There are times when the previous search strategies just don't work to find the items you are looking for. The Library of Congress holds many primary resources outside the American Memory Collections. For example, if you want to locate items related to the diary of Anne Frank and used the previous search strategies, you may not be able to find what you're looking for. An advanced search using the Google Search Engine will allow you to easily search the entire Library of Congress'

1. Open Google www.google.com
2. Type in "school house" in the Search Box. Click on Google Search button.
3. Click on the Settings Icon in the upper right corner of the page. Click on Advanced Search in the menu.
4. Look down the list of options until you find Search within site or domain and type "loc.gov". Your search term should be in the top box.
5. Click the Advanced Search button

This search should have returned about 69,900 plus items. Notice all of the returns are
from the Library of Congress web site.

*Go to Activity 2.

Activity 2

1. Click on "Lesson 4, Activity 3 Searching for Primary Sources " Save this file to your computer. You can also click on the "Assignment" link on the left to access this file.

2. After completing this activity, save the file to your computer.

3. Submit your completed "Lesson 4, Activity 3 Searching for Primary Sources" to jbee@ilstu.edu as an attachment.



*Go to Lesson 5.

If you need help with this activity, please contact Judy Bee (jbee@ilstu.edu).