Finding Primary Sources
Visit the National History Day Research Road Map for a good discussion of the definition and use of primary sources.
To find primary sources at Tutt Library, try using these terms in keyword searches in the TIGER catalog:
- Captivity Narratives
- Oral history
- Personal narratives
- keywords = slavery and speeches
- keywords = women and diaries
- keywords = colorado and oral history
You can also limit your keyword search by date, though this may cut out reprint editions of early works.
In an author search, you can browse for particular people, organizations, or even place names. Examples:
- author = Lincoln, Abraham
- author = Temperance Society
- author = United Nations
- author = New York (you’ll get the New York Medical Society, New York University, etcetera)
To find primary sources in Colorado College Special Collections, limit your search by location on the first search screen, or browse the Special Collections webpages, especially the diaries and manuscripts pages.
To find newspaper and periodical articles for the period of time in which you’re interested, use the indexes and full-text databases at Historical Newspapers/Periodicals.
The library also has paper indexes to early periodicals, including
- The Index to the Colorado Springs Gazette (also available in card form in Special Collections)
- Poole’s Index to Periodical Literature (1802-1906)
- Nineteenth Century Reader’s Guide (1890-1899)
- Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature (1900-present)
- International Index to Periodicals (1906-1965)
- Social Sciences & Humanities Index (1965-1973)
- Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals (1824-1900)
(See the Tiger catalog for call numbers and locations.)
To find hundreds of other digitized primary sources, try the Library of Congress’s mammoth American Memory site, which includes documents, sound files, still and moving images, maps, sheet music, and more. Or use the Librarians’ Index to the Internet at www.lii.org or Infomine at infomine.ucr.edu and simply type the phrase “primary sources” in the search box.
One last tip: there is there is nothing wrong with using the bibliography from a good secondary source to help identify primary sources.