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This guide contains recommendations on resources, search tips, as well as information about citing your sources in MLA 8 style format for your research assignment on LA Neighborhoods and PsychoGeography


Historical societies collect all types of information on their cities, towns and neighborhoods, including both primary and secondary sources and they can often provide contact information for people who are knowledgeable of issues in your geographic area that will be useful when doing your fieldwork.

To find an historical society for your neighborhood, simply type into a web search engine "historical society [name of your city or neighbordhood" or "historic preservation [name of your city or neighbordhood", e.g.,"historical society Echo Park" or "Pasadena historic preservation:.

  • If a historical society exists for your chosen neighborhood or city, it will show up. Browse the website which should contain information about the history and resources about the location, available electronically or on site.
  • Also consider contacting the society to get access to their resources or even see if someone at the society might be willing to sit for a brief interview with specific questions. Most folks who work at historical societies have a passion for their location and a wealth of knowledge to share.

City Departments

If no historical society shows up in your search, your city may have an historic preservation, planning, or community neighborhoods departments that might have some valuable and useful information available to you.

  • Go to the city’s website and search for one of the aforementioned departments and see what is available to you on the website and on site.
  • Contact the department and explain your project to them. Like the historical society, most of the time, people in these departments will be happy to help or refer you to someone who can. If you do not get a response, contact them again. Do not give up.

Historical Photographs

The publicly available Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection contains images from the 1850s to the present, documenting all aspects of life in Southern California, with an emphasis on Los Angeles. Search using the name of the area in which you are interested, e.g., "Koreatown" or "Chavez Ravine".  Then you will see a full results list of relevant, potentially useful historical photographs.

Local Newspapers

  • Don't forget local area/neighborhood newspapers are also great resources. ProQuest does not necessarily index these; sometimes the names for these have evolved over the years:
    • For example, Santa Monica has several newspapers from Santa Monica Outlook, Santa Monica Mirror, Santa Monica Observer
  • Contact a reference librarian at the local branch library for the neighborhood to see if the branch has copies or can help you access these if they are not available online. 
  • Contact a reference librarian at GCC if you need help getting started.



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