At Steely Library, NKUIRE is the library's catalog. When you search NKUIRE, you are searching the Steely Library collection of books, journals, videos, music, government documents, and more! NKUIRE is one source to look for diaries and personal narratives.

NKUIRE contains published material, not original documents housed in Steely Library. Many diaries or personal narrative you find in the library may include sections of an original source, but will often contain some interpretation or commentary from the publisher or editor. This means most of the published materials in NKUIRE aren’t true primary documents. It’s important to keep this in mind during your search for primary documents.

For original documents, consider visiting the Special Collections & Archives Department on the first floor of the library.

When searching for historical narratives in NKUIRE try these keywords:

  • Diaries
  • Journals (Note: This search term may also pull up periodicals!)
  • Narratives

Combine the above words with your topic:

  • Women AND civil war AND diaries
  • Military narratives
  • Personal narratives AND September 11 terrorist attacks

Here's what a search would look like in NKUIRE after selecting the "Advanced" tab:

Searching the diaries using the NKUIRE advanced tab

You can also search NKUIRE for government documents related to key events or figures in history. To do this in NKUIRE, select the "Advanced" tab. Type in your keyword(s). In the dropdown box labeled, Library Location, select "Steely Government Documents."

Searching for government documents using the NKUIRE advanced tab


In addition to NKUIRE, NKU students have access to an even larger catalog, Worldcat. Worldcat searches for materials in libraries around the world. If you find an item in Worldcat that NKU does not own, you can request it using SourceFinder, Steely Library's interlibrary loan and document delivery service. However, many primary document sources will not be lent out due to their fragile and historic nature.

Worldcat is a great source for books and it is possible to find copies of published diaries, for example. As mentioned above, keep in mind that publications often include commentary from editors and publishers.

You can access Worldcat from the library's Quick Links menu - select "Articles and Databases." On the next page, click on the "W" to connect to Worldcat.

Worldcat screen indicating item owned by NKU

Steely Library phone number:  859.572.5457