Research @ Longwood: Find Primary Resources

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Finding Primary Resources

Depending on your topic, you may be required to find primary resources. What makes a primary resource is different for the humanities and sciences, and sometimes they can be tricky to find, so please do not hesitate to ask for help if you need it.

Primary Vs. Secondary Sources Video

What is a Primary Resource?

Primary sources are original, first-hand accounts. Secondary sources provide some analysis or interpretation of primary resources. Example:

Primary vs. Secondary sources

Credit for graphic: http://dkit.ie.libguides.com/content.php?pid=493936&sid=4116692

You can often find primary sources online that have been digitized, and we have several books and databases that will help:

How to Find Primary Sources in the Library Catalog

Use the links at the left to locate primary sources within the library's catalog:

  1. Click the link for the type of source you are looking for, e.g., "diaries."
  2. The link will open a catalog screen.  In the search box, after "d:(diaries)," type "and" and a term to narrow your search.  Names of people or broad subject terms work best, e.g., "d:(diaries) and civil war" (see below).
  3. Click Search.  The resulting list of items should include books that provide primary sources for your topic.
Library Catalog -- d:(diaries) and civil war

Primary Resources in Library Databases

These are some databases that may contain useful information. 

Suggested Websites

There are several websites that offer access to primary resources. Here are a few that we've found helpful.