PRIMARY SOURCES
Carol Oshel
 972-883-2627
[email protected]
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An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action University
P. O. Box 830643 Richardson, TX 75083-0643 972-883-2955
November 2004
What is a Primary Source? And How do I find it?
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A primary source is a first-hand account of an event, time period,
or philosophical era.
A primary source MAY include:Diaries, journals, speeches, letters, interviews, office memos and
other papers if the author was present at the event being written
about.
Memoirs and autobiographies which are describing events that the
author was present for.
Government documents, such as census records.
Reports and minutes of organizations that reflect events, conditions
and ideas of the time.
Books, journals and newspapers written at the time of the event in
question.
Photographs, audio tapes, and film that document an event.
Research data documenting scientific experiments at the time
Documentation of ideas or psychology of a time may be found in
popular fiction, films, educational material etc.
Artifacts of all kinds, which may include buildings (architecture),
household items, cave drawings, clothing, paintings, pottery.
What is a Primary Source? And How do I find it?
Why Should I use a Primary Source
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They are used so that you can form your own opinion,
based on the facts.
They allow you to understand how people feel, at the
time, about an event or a person.
Primary sources are used to show your professor that you
have done the research required to produce a quality
paper.
Using primary sources shows your professor that you are
able to take the facts, interpret them, and draw your own
conclusion, rather than just regurgitate other people’s
work.
You should produce a better quality paper if it has some
primary sources to back up your thesis statement.
A mixture of sources produces a more substantial paper –
use primary and secondary; scholarly and popular; paper
and electronic; ideas and artifacts; fact and fiction, etc.
What is a Primary Source? And How do I find it?
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Primary sources differ depending on the subject and
time period being studied. If you are in doubt, ask
your instructor.
Primary sources DO NOT include
Historical accounts of an event
Memoirs or autobiographies that reflect on an event
in which the author was NOT a participant, unless it
reflects a popular opinion of the time.
A critical analysis of a work of literature written years
later.
A critical analysis of an historical event written after
the event occurred.
What is a Primary Source? And How do I find it?
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BEFORE you start to find primary sources, you
need some background information on the
subject that you are covering, such as:
Names of the principal participants
Names of any organizations, political groups,
ideological movements etc.
Countries and political policies involved
Dates being covered
You can find this information in a general or
subject encyclopedia, history books,
biographical dictionaries, and subject
bibliographies. You can access Encyclopedia
Britannica Online from the list of databases.
What is a Primary Source? And How do I find it
in the Reference Section?
Several books, or sets of books are available in the library
reference section. They include:
1.
American Decades Primary Sources (Ref E 169.1
.A471977 2004) 10 volumes
2.
English Historical Documents (Ref DA 26 .E55 )
3.
100 Key Documents in American Democracy (Ref E
173 .A15 1994)
4.
Documents of American History (Ref E 173 .C66 1988)
5.
The French Revolution : A Document Collection (Ref
DC 141 .M37 1999)
6.
Historic Documents of 2001 (Ref E 839.5 .H57 2001)
7.
Documents of Texas History (Ref F 386 .D64 1994)
8.
Also, check the bibliography of any secondary source that
you have found. The author will have included any primary
sources that he/she used.
And others. For help ask the Reference Librarian at the
Reference Desk
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What is a Primary Source? And How do I find it?
TO FIND MATERIALS THROUGH THE ONLINE CATALOG
Keyword/Subject Search
From the online catalog
select Keyword/Subject
search.
Type your search term
here.
I used “letters”
You may type a
second subject
here. I used
“civil war”
Limit here to
search “civil war”
as a phrase
What is a Primary Source? And How do I find it?
TO FIND MATERIALS THROUGH THE ONLINE CATALOG
This is a partial list of the results of the search
This is the brief record for this book
In order to find
the subject
heading for this
book click on
“LONG VIEW”
(see next slide)
If you are a distance student, you may call Interlibrary Loan
At 972-883-2900 to have this book mailed to you
Click on the title to see
a brief record for this
book. To locate the
book, you need the
call number (E484
.W66 2004), the
location (Main Stacks,
3rd floor) and the
availability (Available)
What is a Primary Source? And How do I find it?
TO FIND MATERIALS THROUGH THE ONLINE CATALOG
This is the Long View for this title
What is a Primary Source? And How do I find it?
TO FIND MATERIALS THROUGH THE ONLINE CATALOG
These are the subject
headings that found the title
“Women of the Civil War
South …”
To find other materials
within this subject click on
one of the subject headings
What is a Primary Source? And How do I find it?
TO FIND MATERIALS THROUGH THE ONLINE CATALOG
This is a partial list of the results of the subject search
To see a list of all of the books in the library
under this subject heading click here.
(See the next slide)
What is a Primary Source? And How do I find it?
TO FIND MATERIALS THROUGH THE ONLINE CATALOG
This is a list of all of the materials in the library with this subject heading
In order to read an
electronic book click on
the title of the book
What is a Primary Source? And How do I find it?
TO FIND MATERIALS THROUGH THE ONLINE CATALOG
Net Library Search Screen
You may either view this book, or check
out for 24 hours. To check the book out you
will need to create a free account
To Create a Free
Account:
Click on the link
“checkout for 2
hrs”, and supply
login and
password
information
What is a Primary Source? And How do I find it?
TO FIND ARTICLES FROM JOURNALS, MAGAZINES AND NEWSPAPERS (from Databases)
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We have several databases that access primary
source materials. They include:
America: History and Life (U.S. and Canada,
prehistory-current)
American Periodical Series, 1741-1900
Early English Books Online (1475-1700)
Eighteenth Century Collections Online
Gerritsen Women’s History (1543-1945)
Harper’s Weekly 1857-1912
Historical Abstracts (World history, prehistorycurrent, excluding U.S. and Canada)
Periodical Contents (1770-1995)
Other databases MAY include primary source
documents. If in doubt ask a librarian.
What is a Primary Source? And How do I find it?
HISTORICAL ABSTRACTS/AMERICA : HISTORY AND LIFE
When you have filled in the appropriate
fields (you do not have to use all of
them) click SEARCH
Click here for a list of subjects. Type “civil
war” in the text box and click FIND TERMS.
Select “Civil War (pictorial works) and click
the PASTE box.
Click here to search for a particular author.
Check the box next to the author’s name and
click on the PASTE box
Click here for a list of languages. Check the
box next to ENGLISH, then click on the
PASTE box.
Click here for a list of time periods. I have
chosen the decades (D) 1840-1860. Click
on the appropriate boxes, then click on
the PASTE box
Click here for a list of
journal titles Check
the appropriate box (if
wanted) and click on
the PASTE box
Click here for a list of document types (article,
media etc) Check the appropriate box and click
on the PASTE box
What is a Primary Source? And How do I find it?
HISTORICAL ABSTRACTS/AMERICA : HISTORY AND LIFE
Result of Search:
The search produced two results. To see if we have
access to this article, check the title in the online
catalog. If we do not have full text access you may
use our Interlibrary Loan service to obtain this article.
Click here (DISPLAY FULL ENTRY) for more
information, including an abstract
The abstract confirms that the article contains
primary source sketches. Check the online
catalog to see if we have access to
CONNECTICUT HISTORICAL SOCIETY
BULLETIN, and order through Interlibrary Loan
if we do not.
This record is the
full entry display of
the second article in
the short entry list
What is a Primary Source? And How do I Find it?
American Periodicals Series Advanced Search
For a list of periodicals
indexed, click here
Insert search terms
in these boxes
Click on the blue button for a
list of source types, select
article type. Then click on
“browse article types” and
select “illustration” from the list
Select one of these
formats for the dates
to be searched
What is a Primary Source? And How do I Find it?
American Periodicals Series - Results of Search
Click here for the
full text
This cartoon was done for
Vanity Fair in October
1861, and could be used as
a primary source to show
public opinion of the war at
that time.
What is a Primary Source? And How do I Find it?
Gerritsen’s Collection : Women’s History Online
1543-1945
Type your search term here – use
quotes if you want to search for a
phrase
You may fill out these boxes if you
have the information.
Click on INDEX for a list of terms
Select dates for searching
Select language
You can select a document type
here, or search all types
What is a Primary Source? And How do I Find it?
Gerritsen’s Collection : Women’s History Online
1543-1945 SEARCH RESULTS
Click on FULL CITATION for more
information, or PAGE IMAGE for the full
text
This may NOT be a primary source. You
will need to evaluate it carefully. Check
the full citation for more information
Evaluation of this source shows that it
is a primary source account of the civil
war.
What is a Primary Source? And How do I Find it?
HarpWeek (full text and images of Harper’s Weekly, 1857-1902)
Click here to
begin
searching
These time periods are
included in HarpWeek
The browse,
search and finding
aids features are
explained here
What is a Primary Source? And How do I Find it?
HarpWeek Search Screen
For a basic
search, click
here
What is a Primary Source? And How do I Find it?
HarpWeek Basic Search
You may limit your search to:
Advertisement
Article series
Biographical sketch /obituary
Cartoon
Editorial
Fiction
Government announcement
Humor
/satirical commentary
Illustration
Map
News story/item
Panoramic view
Poetry
Portrait
Publisher’s notice
Travel narrative
What is a Primary Source? And How do I Find it?
HarpWeek Partial List of Search Results
Click on the title for
the full text of the
article
What is a Primary Source? And How do I Find it?
HarpWeek Full Text of Article
Click on the page for an
enlarged copy of the
newspaper page
Verbatim copy of the
newspaper article
REMEMBER!
Evaluate the article to be sure
it is a primary source
What is a Primary Source? And How do I Find it?
Periodical Contents Index (PCI)
BASIC SEARCH
You can select from
the list, or the drop
down boxes, or leave
these areas blank
What is a Primary Source? And How do I Find it?
Periodical Contents Index (PCI)
Results of Basic Search
Full text for this
article is not available
in this database. You
will need to check
UTD’s catalog, or
order through
Interlibrary Loan
Primary Sources: The Internet
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The Internet has become a rich source of primary materials. As
always, evaluate your internet source carefully before you include
the material in your paper, and cite the source in your “works
cited” page.
Here are a few recommended sites:
UNITED STATES HISTORY:
American Memory. The Library of Congress’s National Digital
Library contains more than 40 collections, which feature historical
photos, maps, documents, letters…
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/
Documenting the American South. This electronic text archive
from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill contains slave
narratives as well as a digitized library of southern literature …
http://metalab.unc.edu/docsouth/
A Hypertext on American History. This site contains over 100
historical documents relating to US history from the 1400s.
http://odur.let.rug.nl~usa/usa.htm
The Papers of Jefferson Davis. http://jeffersondavis.rice.edu
Primary Sources
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WORLD HISTORY:
World War II Resources. Primary source
materials on all aspects of the war.
http://www.ibiblio.org/pha/
EuroDocs. Primary source documents from
western Europe.
ttp://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/eurodocs/inde
x.html
The Crimean War : primary sources
overview.
http://www.lib.byu.edu/~rdh/eurodocs/ind
ex.html
Other Library Services
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Telephone
Reference 972-8832955
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Monday – Thursday
9:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Friday 9:00 a.m. - 8:00
p.m.
Saturday 10:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.
Sunday 1:00 p.m. 10:00 p.m.
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By appointment with a
reference librarian
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E-mail Reference
“Ask A Librarian”
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http://www.utdallas.e
du/library/reference/
erefform.htm
[email protected]
u
Stop by the reference desk and
ask
Ask a UT System
Librarian-Chat
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Contact Loreen Phillips
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Monday-Thurs. 12:00-6:00 pm;
Friday 12:00-4:00 pm CST
http://www.lib.utsystem.edu/st
udents/ask.html
An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action
University
P. O. Box 830643 Richardson, TX 75083-0643
972-883-2955
September 2004
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What is a Primary Source? And How do I find it?