COLWRIT 4B: Public History, Personal Story

Primary Sources Online - Overview

The texts of primary sources are available online in two different ways:

Comprehensive list of library databases of primary sources in US History

Selected list, US History

Historical newspaper and magazine articles US History

Selected list of library databases of primary sources in European history  Flag of the European Union

Historical newspaper and magazine articles, European history    Flag of the European Union

Primary Sources by country or continent     globe

Comprehensive list of library databases of primary sources worldwide.     globe


Primary Source Searching - Names

One of the most powerful ways to find primary sources in the Library is to use the names of people.  An essential part of your background reading should be to note down names of people involved in your topics.

Names can be searched in the catalogs [Oskicat and Melvyl] in specialized ways: as authors or as subjects.  Even people you do not consider authors in the conventional sense may be listed as authors, if:

  • their correspondence is available
  • their manuscripts are available
  • interviews with them are available
  • their diaries are available
  • published versions of these are available

When searching for primary sources, it's a good idea always to search those names as authors, as well as keywords.  Works where the person is listed as an author will always be primary sources.

Oral histories

Search this database by the historical event you are interested in.  There are many oral histories of the Holocaust.

Times Digital Archive

Searching OskiCat for Primary Sources

Certain words and phrases [part of the Library of Congress Subject Headings thesaurus] will find primary sources in library catalogs.  Note them down; they are your friends:

-personal narratives
-early works to 1800


puerto rican* interviews
african american soldiers personal narratives
irish american* newspapers

Last Update: October 14, 2013 11:49