collage of ports
Printer-Friendly Page
Searching for primary resources
Where to look... How to look...
Contemporary Books, Newspapers and Magazines
Books
Nothing but Freedom: Emancipation and Its Legacy
Works that were written contemporaneously with an event can be important primary sources. These are often accounts of events by participants or observers. However, contemporaneous writings that are not directly about the event being researched may be important primary sources of information about the environment in which the event occurred.
 
• Find print copies of books
• Find books online
Magazines
cover of Life magazine: Vietnam patrol
Works that were written contemporaneously with an event can be important primary sources. These are often accounts of events by participants or observers. However, contemporaneous writings that are not directly about the event being researched may be important primary sources of information about the environment in which the event occurred. .
 
• Find magazines in print
• Find text online
Newspapers
NY Times: Twin Towers
Works that were written contemporaneously with an event can be important primary sources. These are often accounts of events by participants or observers. However, contemporaneous writings that are not directly about the event being researched may be important primary sources of information about the environment in which the event occurred. .
 
• Find newspapers in print or microfilm
• Find newspapers online
Diaries and journals
Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl
Any work in which people reveal their knowledge or thoughts about events they participated in or observed can be a valuable source of primary information about individuals, events, and places. Remember that the author has a limited perspective and may have a personal interest in portraying events from a particular slant.
 
• Find diaries and journals
Autobiographies and Memoirs
W. Clinton: My Life
These are personal accounts based on personal experience that are useful for the insight they provide into people's thoughts and experiences. Because they are frequently written years after the events that they describe, it is important to consider the possibility of faulty or creative memories.
 
• Try a Franklin search
• Find text online
Government Documents
U.S. Constitution, detail
Government and international governing bodies around the world produce vast amounts of information. Examples include U.S. Government documents, British Government documents and United Nations documents. The U.S. Government produces a wide range of documents, from highly technical reports about the climate to reports about the political activities of Marilyn Monroe. Many of them can be used as primary sources of information.
 
• Find government documents
Photographs, paintings, movies, documentaries, audio recordings
Movies
Battleship Potemkin
Artistic representations of all kinds can reveal information about popular culture, the things that are represented and the environment in which the representation was created.
 
• Try a VCat search
• Find movies online
Music
Woody Guthrie
Artistic representations of all kinds can reveal information about popular culture, the things that are represented and the environment in which the representation was created.
 
• Try a Franklin search
• Find music online
Images
ad for dental supplies
Artistic representations of all kinds can reveal information about popular culture, the things that are represented and the environment in which the representation was created.
 
• Find Images
Physical objects: buildings, clothing, furniture, tools, toys, icons
David Rittenhouse Orrery at Penn
Material culture can reveal a great deal about the society in which they were used.
 
• Find Resources
Archival Material and Manuscripts
Business Archives
Internal records of organizations, memos, committee reports, minutes, and correspondence are useful for the information they provide about the organization itself; external records, certificates, licenses, permits and contracts are also useful for the information they provide about individuals and events outside of the organization. Manuscripts are written documents that have not been printed. They often include drafts of later writings, speeches or publications and notes. They are primary resources that may include any sort of information.
 
• Find archival resources
Surveys, Polls and Statistics
survey
Surveys and polls are sources of vast amounts of information about the activities, beliefs, goals, and perceptions of the group being studied. The empirical results are primary sources of information about the group.
 
• Find Information in Print
• Find information online
back*next