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History Research > 1: Primary Sources

1A: Types of Primary Sources

Primary sources -- those created at the time of an historical event or era -- are important tools for historical research. They include:

Types of primary and secondary sources

Historian's sources To learn more about primary sources, see:

1B: Find Primary Sources in the Library Catalog

Use the library catalog to find primary sources held by your library. Search by:

Words in the subject heading offer clues to primary sources. Some important words to look for are:

catalog record for a primary source

lightbulbResearch Tip

To find useful subject terms, begin with a keyword search. Browse keyword search results and identify a relevant record. Look at the subject terms in this record and use them to continue your research.

1C: Research Databases

Research databases may also include full text of primary source documents:

International Coalition on Newspapers
A site covering historic newspaper digitization projects. Includes international and U.S. projects.

Chronicling America
From the Library of Congress, Search historic U.S. newspapers 1836-1922.

See OSU's Research Databases List for additional resources by subject (especially see Newspapers). Some of these are limited to access by OSU users.


Try a search in the Chronicling America for a primary source.

Go to the Advanced Search tab and do a search for the exact phrase Charles Guiteau. Examine some of the resulting newspaper items on this person. [Site opens in new window.]

Pop Quiz

Which word in library catalog subject headings indicates a primary source?

Correct answer: [NOTE: Score is not recorded]

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