Primary Sources in Digital Collections on the Web


In the First Person
Free index of thousands of collections of personal narratives in English. Includes text, audio, and video files.

UNESCO Archives Portal: Primary Sources Online
Hierarchical links organized into collections, exhibitions, projects, and finding aids.

Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web

University Libraries' Digital Collections

Digital Collections (from University Libraries' Selected Internet Reference Resources)

Identifying Likely Collections

Ready, Net, Go! Archival Internet Resources: Master Lists of Archives

Search Engines

This could be an effective strategy depending upon what you are looking for and how authoritative or trustworthy the sources need to be. If your search terms are pretty specific and don't bring back a lot of results you may have more success.

What to do when your topic search words bring back lots of hits? Are there ways to restrict your search to finding actual primary sources that you'll be able to view on the web? Some ideas include:

Include 'primary source' Words

Add 'primary sources' OR 'digital collection' OR 'digital collections' to the search

'Mark Twain' ('primary sources' OR 'digital collection' OR 'digital collections')

Do you want a specific type of primary source? Try those words (letters, correspondence, papers, diary, diaries, interview, speech, etc). Retrieval too high? Include the 'primary sources' words and/or think about using the advanced search and restrict your search to the .edu domain.

'Mark Twain' letters

Search for Images

Using the Images search in Google
(automobiles OR cars) advertisements

Better results if you can be more specific
studebaker (advertisements OR advertisement OR ads OR ad)

Advice on Working with Primary Sources

History Matters: Making Sense of Evidence
History Matters is designed for high school and college teachers of U.S. History courses.

Using Primary Sources on the Web
Good introduction from the History Section of the American Library Association's Reference and User Services Association.

Introduction | Books | Articles | Library Databases | Magazines and Journals | Microforms | Newspapers | Popular Culture | Public Opinion


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