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EDST 1001

Resources for Primary Sources

Depending on the topic, primary sources can be found inside books, via the internet, or even from your own social circles.  Below are suggested library and non-library tools to help locate primary sources.

What is a Primary Source?

Primary sources contain first-hand accounts of events or are contemporaneous to a particular happening.  As opposed to secondary sources, which tell readers about a thing, primary sources directly represent the thing itself.  When it comes to historical research, examples of primary sources can include the following:

  • Photographs/images
  • Letters, diaries, or other correspondence 
  • Government documents or legislation
  • Audio or video recordings
  • Artifacts
  • Interviews or other first-hand accounts
  • Contemporaneous writings, including news
  • Contemporaneous literature
  • Art objects

In terms of scientific research, primary sources may include things like:

  • Raw data
  • Scientific papers, reports, or conference proceedings that represent original research

Reflection Sheet

Primary Source Links

Oregon-Free-Press-image of a primary document

Genealogical Resources

Search Strategies

Search Strategies: 

Each database contains information about how special symbols are used in search strategies, the examples below will work for most databases.

  • Use "   "   (quotes) to keep words next to each other.   Example:  "Brown v. Board of Education" or "Brown vs. Board of Education"  -  These examples provide different results -  word choice and the use of quotes is important.

                      EXAMPLE:    Library of Congress

                      Using "Brown vs. Board of Education"

  • Use * (star sign) to add various endings to a root word.  (EX:   Math* will retrieve "math" and "mathmatics")



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