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Primary sources: Books

Primary Sources

Finding primary sources in books

The library has many books that are either collections of primary sources, or are a mix of primary and secondary sources. One easy way to find these is to go to the library catalog and search for your topic, adding the word "sources" to your search, like this:

  • Slavery sources
  • Reagan sources
  • "Cold war" sources
  • Socialism sources

Because not all of the library books are properly cataloged with the word "sources," you can also search by the type of document. Try some of these search terms:

  • Letter
  • Document
  • Treaties (or treaty)
  • Memoir

You should also be sure to look at these series titles. Search for these using the "Series" button in the library catalog:

  • Annals of America
  • Bedford Series in History and Culture
  • Defining Moments
  • Examining Issues Through Political Cartoons
  • Major Problems
  • Pages from History

Primary sources in ebooks

To find primary sources in Ebrary titles:

  • Choose Advanced Search
  • In the first text entry box, enter your topical search term. Be sure the drop-down menu to the left says "Search in text and key fields"
  • Click the + to add another row of search options
  • Change the drop-down menu to "Subject"
  • In the text box, type the word "sources". 
  • Use the "focus your search" options if relevant; otherwise skip this area
  • Click Search.

If you don't get any results, see if you can modify your search. If you see a list of relevant books, you can search through them to see what will work best for your research.