Things to Remember

Primary sources are found in a variety of places but you have to know where to search for them. Because primary sources can be both published and not published, they can be tricky to find.

Often materials that are not published can be rare items that don't have many copies; things like diaries and letters. However, sometimes you can find primary sources that are published, like collections of letters or a person's diary published after the fact.

When doing primary source research, remember that you are often trying to find your keywords in historical documents. You'll need to think strategically about what words you are using as your search terms.

  • Remember that vocabulary changes over time. You may need to search using terms that we now find offensive or would not use to describe something. 

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