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Primary Sources: Finding Primary Sources

Tips on how to identify, access, and use primary source materials.

How to Find Primary Sources

1. Find secondary sources first

2. Use secondary sources to locate primary sources.

  • Do your secondary sources contain any primary source materials?
  • Are there clues in your secondary sources about primary sources that exist on your topic, such as the titles of documents?
  • Do the reference lists (bibliographies) from your secondary sources contain information on primary source materials?

3. Search the Hawaiʻi Voyager catalog and OneSearch for primary sources.

  • For keywords, use your topic plus one of the words on the primary source examples list at left, e.g. Abraham Lincoln correspondence.

4. Google it.

  • Try a Google search using your topic plus one of the words on the primary source examples list at left, e.g. Mahatma Gandhi letters.

5. Search individual repositories of primary source materials, such as these:

Primary Sources on the Web

Content: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Windward Community College Library