Need to find a primary source? The Bell Library staff is happy to help. We have convenient walk-in hours or you can make an appointment by contacting us at jfbell@umn.edu or 612-624-1528.

When you come to the Bell:

  • Bring a copy of your assignment
    This will help us guide your research to find the most appropriate sources
  • Bring a photo ID
    You will be asked to register as a researcher
  • Have a topic in mind – or at least a general idea. What interests you most?

Planning your research

Primary sources created before the 20th century offer special challenges.

  • Sentence structure and vocabulary can be different and may seem exotic—almost like reading a foreign language.
  • The fonts used in the past for printed material can be difficult to read.
  • The material in books might be organized differently: no table of contents, no title page, publication date in Roman numerals –and—NO PAGE NUMBERS!

What to do?

  • Allow additional time for research when using primary sources.
  • Ask for help. We’re here for YOU.
  • Check out the Using the Collection section of this Web site for more helpful information.