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HY 300: Historian's Craft

Links to history resources and guides for use as building blocks for historical research.

Primary Resources

Finding Primary Sources with Subject Headings

Use subject subheadings to narrow your search even further to find primary sources rather than secondary sources in the local collections.  You might even pick up on a pattern.  



  • Correspondence
    • Example: William II, German Emperor, 1859-1941--Correspondence
  • Diaries
    • Example: Working class women--Colorado--Diaries
  • History--Sources
    • Example: Alabama--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Sources
  • Interviews
    • Example: Witnesses--Germany--Nuremberg--Interviews
  • Maps
    • Example: Japan--Civilization--Maps
  • Pamphlets
    • Example: Ireland--Politics and government--1760-1820--Pamphlets
  • Personal Narratives
    • Example: World war, 1914-1918--Personal Narratives, American

Primary Research via Open Web

The internet can be too much of a good thing.  When searching for primary sources, keep a few key things in mind.

  • Evaluate the source - always evaluate the site for authority, accuracy, objectivity, and currency to make sure the information at the site can be validated.
  • If searching in Google, be sure to narrow your search by domain (to weed out the commercial sites)
    • Going to the "advanced" search option in Google gives you the opportunity to choose your domain
    • .edu = education (universities, etc)
    • .org = Non-profit organizations (remember, this is a tax designation)
    • .gov = US government agency sites
  • When looking for primary docs, almost anything is better than HTML. Finding the digitized original copy of the document, picture, etc is much better than finding an html document that someone merely typed in. While html is better than nothing, it's always best to try to find the original so that you can check for accuracy.