Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Latin American History: Caribbean Research: Locating secondary sources

What is a secondary source?

A secondary source is one that was created after the event by someone who wasn't there. Examples include books, journals, magazines and websites.

It isn't one that is secondary in importance!

Here are some tips for locating secondary sources:

  • While you're reading your reference article and primary source, keep a list of keywords to search for.
  • Try broad terms eg Communist and narrow terms eg Trotskyite
  • Look at the bibliography at the end of the reference article - those might be good sources.

Finding eBooks

Ebooks online

  • OpenLibrary Has full-text books that you can read online or check out. To check out you need to create a free account.
  • GoogleBooks is good for out of print books and for previewing books that you think might be useful. The most useful ways to use GoogleBooks preview is to see if you can look at the table of contents or the index and to use the search within this book function using your keywords.

  • SFPL has several eBook collections. They may not be research oriented, but it's worth taking a look. You will need your library card number and PIN to access.

Finding physical books

Find books in the following libraries:

Finding journals and magazines: UHS databases

The best place to look for journals and magazine articles for your research paper is through the UHS library databases (a database is an organized collection of pre-selected resources):


Finding journals and magazines: SF Public Library

The San Francisco Public Library subscribes to several databases. This Libguide has links to the most useful ones. You will need your library card number and PIN to login. This one will probably be the most useful general database:

If you don't have an SFPL card and live in San Francisco, you can get a digital one very quickly. If you don't live in San Francisco, send Hayley an email and I can sort one out for you.


SFPL also gives you digital access to the Journal of Caribbean History up to 2016 (you will need to log in with your library card number and PIN to access the link). If you want an article in a later issue of the journal, you will need to use Inter-Library Loan (see Hayley for how to do this).

Finding journals and magazines: Web sites