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What is a primary source?
A primary source is usually defined as an original document, a creative work or a relic or an artifact.(or a picture of a relic/artifact). Documents are not just written letters, but also diaries, speeches, photos and state records. A creative work includes artwork of all types, from paintings to novels. (EBSCO)
1. SEARCH FOR A PRIMARY SOURCE:Before you start your search, have names, dates, locations, subject/topic, etc. ready.
Research Our Records (on left)
“To keep a phrase together”
Date range - when they lived
Refine by Date on left side
Search Everything on top right
Then eliminate based on parameters on left
Click on record
May have to click Link to see/use image
Has a Cite This Item at the bottom of each record
Can share through email
Spartacus Educational - a resource for global history. It contains free encyclopedia entries that directly connect to primary source documents.Text from primary source is provided, but may not link to a visual of the source.
Run by the National Archives, has primary sources organized by different periods in American History. Audio, video, charts, graphs, maps and more. May search for original quote sources.
Search by word, person, exact phrase
Britannica Encyclopedia - Primary sources are attached to the secondary source articles. Make sure you are logged into your school gmail account. Use our Rocklin passwords found HERE to log in. Choose High School. Search for your topic at the top of the page. Once you choose an article, the Primary sources are on the left side menu. Click on the source and scroll down to see document. Cite information is provided.
Explora for secondary schools - Make sure you are logged into your school gmail account. Use our Rocklin passwords found HERE to log in. Choose Advanced Search under the search bar. Insert topic, then scroll down and change publication date on the left to dates relevant to your topic. Click on Primary Sources on the left menu bar.
Fordham University - Full text documents categorized by broad topics, period of time or era.
Search records of State Libraries - ie: California- Search and then limit to online access and sort by date oldest
Search archives of major city newspapers ie: New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe
LIFE MAGAZINE - photo archive, search by keyword, decade, or significant people, places, events or sports
Vital Records - birth, christening, marriage, death certificates
2. WORKING WITH YOUR PRIMARY SOURCE:
- Meet the document
- Observe its parts
- Try to make sense of it
- Use it as historical evidence
Use the Worksheets for Secondary Students on the site above to help pull and organize information from your primary source.
3. CITE YOUR SOURCE:
If the website does not provide cite information for you, use the MLS Citation form on the WHS Library site to help you cite your source.
Primary Source Examples