Analyzing Primary Sources
What are Primary Sources?
Primary sources are records created at the time of an event or experience, or as told by people who were present at the event such as those listed below:
Watch this video for a quick overiew of primary sources and how to find them (2:50).
Databases with Primary Sources
The databases listed below have many or exclusively primary sources. Britannica Academic and MasterFile Premier have mainly secondary sources, but some primary sources can be found. Primary sources from our databases include maps, images, correspondence, journals, census records, archival films, newsreels and much more.
Books & eBooks with Primary Sources
WorldCat searches our print books and eBooks, some of which are, or include, primary sources. There are a few things you can try to make it easier to pull up primary sources. Here's how:
- Historical Figures
In Worldcat you can put au: in front of the historical figures name and search to see if we have anything written by them. These would be primary sources, as opposed to sources written about them.
Example: Try au:Thomas Jefferson.
You could also try use some of the terms in the list below, combined with the name of the historical figure.
Example: Try papers of Thomas Jefferson.
- Historical Events
For events try adding the name of the event and one of the terms below.
Example: Try something like american revolution eyewitness or Dred Scott documents.
You can use the terms below with of or from with the name of an individual or event.
- first hand account
- oral history
Want more on WorldCat? Try the How to Use WorldCat Guide.