Bringing It All Together
Resources for Finding Primary Sources
Finding and selecting texts is time-consuming, but it gets easier. Some of the first places to turn to in locating primary sources are the National Archives and Library of Congress. Each of these institutions has done extensive work in putting together sets of primary sources and creating platforms for searching for additional sources. See References and Further Reading for more examples.
Other libraries are able to assist in finding primary sources. This may take more time to research, but university libraries and state archive libraries can be good repositories for finding primary sources for state history and social studies.
A general online search can also reveal primary sources. However, as with all things on the Internet, it's important to view things critically. Look at the creator or author of a source in the same way that you do when reading the source itself. There are certain search criteria that can be used in trying to find reputable sources. These include searching by specific sites. For example, when searching Google for sources about the Great Depression, you can type into the search bar “Great Depression site:.edu” and reveal search results that are relevant to the Great Depression but are located only on higher education websites. A more specific search of a certain website is also possible. For example, a search of “Dust Bowl site:loc.gov” will reveal results relevant to the Dust Bowl but only from the Library of Congress’s website.