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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
American Memory (Library of Congress)
"Written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience".
Asia for Educators - Primary Source Documents with Questions
Excerpts of primary source documents. Site is geared toward educators but is an excellent starting place for students seeking primary source materials related to Asian history.
Internet History Sourcebooks Project
This site links to online historic documents grouped into virtual sourcebooks on Ancient
, and Modern
periods, with other sourcebooks focused on Byzantine studies, Africa, East Asia, Global, Indian, Islamic, Jewish, Lesbian & Gay, Science, and Women.
New York Public Library Digital Collections
"Over 800,000 images digitized from the New York Public Library's collections, including historical maps, vintage posters, photographs, and more."
Primary Source Sets
Primary Source information on a wide variety of topics from the Library of Congress.
Repositories of Primary Sources
A directory of online collections of primary source materials.
Windward Community College Library