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Finding Primary Sources: ...in Books

This guide will assist you in discerning what primary sources are and where they can be located.

Search Strategies in the Library Catalog

Every library has a catalog that tells the user what books are available in that library. If you do particular searches you are more likely to find primary sources. Assume we are searching for information about slavery. Good searches might be:

  • slavery and sources
  • slavery and documents
  • slavery and speech*
  • slavery and documentary history
  • slavery and autobiograph*
  • slavery and correspondence
  • slavery and diaries
  • slavery and memoir*

The terms after the 'and' in each of the above search statements are what help you locate primary sources. This is not an exhaustive list of terms, try others based upon your knowledge of the subject matter.