How to Find Primary Sources

Primary sources are documents that are direct records of an event, raw data, documents, magazines or newspapers from the time, photos or other material created at the time of an event. Even audio recordings, buildings, or just about anything could be considered primary sources.

Our historical primary source databases are located here.

Again, if you’re working in the field of history, you can search our catalog for published collections of primary sources.

Our history maven Margaret Vavarek suggests the searching the following key words in the catalog: Correspondence, Description and Travel, Diaries, Interviews, Personal Narratives, Sources, Letters or Speeches

Another way to identify primary sources is to go to Dissertation Theses Full Text, find relevant dissertations (they are fulltext online) and read their bibliographies.  You could then search to see if we our other libraries have the primary sources mentioned in these bibliographies.

Primary sources in other disciplines can mean studies, experiment results or original research. These can be found by searching the appropriate databases and finding articles that contain primary research results.