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HIST 407/507: Seminar on the Cold War in Latin America (Zahler)

Tips for finding Primary Sources at UO

You will likely need to be creative when searching for primary sources. Remember to ask yourself "who would have cared enough about this topic to document it in some form?"

Searching the library catalog:

  • Use subject headings that describe common primary source formats like "Diaries," "Personal narratives," "Correspondence," etc.
  • Limit your search by date to find material published contemporary to the time period covered by your topic
  • Search for people or organizations as authors (you may have to search last name first, for example: Batista y Zaldívar, Fulgencio or Castro, Fidel)
  • Use secondary sources to find citations to primary sources. Check the book's index, notes (footnotes or endnotes) and appendices to dig deeper. Contact a librarian for help locating an archive mentioned in one of these references.

Primary Source Databases and Resources

Library Subscription Databases
Free Online Catalogs

English Translations of International News

From the UK

BBC Monitoring: International Reports

One source of English translations of international news is BBC Monitoring: International Reports, which can be searched via Nexis Uni and BBC Monitoring, Summary of World Broadcasts (Both links at the bottom of this section). BBC Monitoring translates and analyzes news and information from freely available media sources around the world, covering TV, radio, press, internet and news agencies in 100 different languages from 150 countries.

To search:

  1. Connect to the Nexis Uni database
  2. On the left side, under "What are you interested in?", click on "A publication"
  3. To the right, under "Find Publication", start typing: BBC Monitoring... the full name will appear, click on it
  4. Click "Search"

A screen capture of the Nexis Uni Guided Search showing 1. Selection of Publication 2. Typing of BBC Monitoring under 'find publication' 3. addition of keywords in the middle search box and 4. an indication of clicking the 'search' button

4. You can type in some keywords in the middle search box before you click on the search button to the right, and/or you can limit your search results and search within the results.

From the US

Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS)

The Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) was run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency from 1941-2004. Since the 1940s, FBIS  monitored, translated, and republished selected foreign radio and television broadcasts, newspaper articles, government news agency releases, and political speeches. FBIS primary users - US government officials - determined which stories are included, so political, military, economic, and environmental topics are the major emphases. The translations were published as quickly as possible--usually within a few days of original publication--in a series of daily reports. In 2004, FBIS became the Open Source Center.

In 1996, FBIS became available online through the World News Connection database, maintained by NTIS (National Technical Information Service.) However, as of 2014, the Open Source Center stopped sending these translations to NTIS and the World News Connection database ceased to exist, except as an archival collection which the UO does not own. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) operates a similar service, and the CIA and BBC Monitoring cooperate to share information and divide regional responsibilities. You can get the BBC Monitoring Reports through the database Nexis Uni (see above).

For more information on the scope, history, and use of open source intelligence by the US and UK, see: Leetaru, K. "The Scope of FBIS and BBC Open Source Media Coverage, 1979-2008Studies in Intelligence (54)1: 17-37

The University of Oregon Library has FBIS translations in a variety of formats 1946-2004. See the box "FBIS Holdings in Knight Library" below.

FBIS Holdings in Knight Library

Physical Copies in University of Oregon Libraries

1946-1951 (paper): FBIS Daily Reports (White Book version). Each daily issue contains several sections, each dealing with a world region such as the Soviet Union or the Far East. Location: Documents, Shelving Range C16A (Documents LC after JX 1900).

1/1952-3/1974 (microfilm): FBIS Daily Reports (White Book). Location: Microforms Collection, Microfilm D 839.U63.

1974-1977 (paper): FBIS Daily Reports (regional series). The UO Library has only the regional series for China (1974-1977), Eastern Europe (1974-1977) and the Soviet Union (1974-1976). Location: Documents, Shelving Range C16A (Documents LC after JX 1900).

1978-August 1996 (microfiche): FBIS Daily Reports (regional series). Daily Reports for the entire period for all regions is available in microfiche, and printed indexes are available for varying periods for each region. A CD-ROM index (DOC-LC/CR JA1.I53 1991-96) covers the years 1991-1996 for all regions. Location for Daily Reports: Microforms Collection, Documents Microfiche PREX 7.10: FBIS

1996-2004 (CD-ROM): FBIS Publications (DOC-US PREX 7.10/3) Quarterly CD-ROM disks contain the full texts of FBIS articles from all regions. Location is Documents US CD/DVD.

More English-language News Sources

Database subscriptions with news in English

US-based newspapers

Websites and Open Access News

UK and US Government Information



Related Research Guides at UO