Discover: How can I find and access primary sources appropriate for my research?

Some questions students will learn to answer

  • Can I use sources from the Internet?
  • Does my library have primary sources on my topic?
  • What is an archive?
  • What is a finding aid and how do I use it?
  • How can I use secondary sources to locate primary sources?

Learning objectives this module will address

  • How to identify primary sources on the WWW.
  • How to locate primary sources using library catalogs.
  • Understand how source material gets collected, preserved, and described.
  • Understanding why many voices are absent, and how to fill the void.

Sample exercises that may be used in this module

  • A survey of resource discovery tools – WWW, WorldCat, Libraries, and Print. Practice finding research materials through a variety of search methods.
  • Fun with Finding Aids – a Finding Aid Puzzle – Deconstructing Description. Explore how archives create and use finding aids to describe and provide access to primary source collections.
  • Working backward – tracing citations and footnotes. Practice using bibliographies to discover and track down research sources.
  • Observing the silences. Understand how and why certain materials are collected and who collects them. Practice searching for missing voices in alternative sources.