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History Research > 2: Primary Sources on the Web

2A: Find Primary Sources on the Web

Many primary sources documents have been digitized by libraries and other organizations and made available online. To find primary source materials on the Web:

  1. Use a virtual library. A virtual library is an organized collection of information sources, including digital documents. It is not a physical place, like your local library, but exists only in computer space. For American history, see:

    Page from African American Odyssey collection American Memory
    This is a large, ongoing project by the Library of Congress to create digital copies of collections important for the study of American history and culture. It includes sound files and movies, photographs, manuscripts, documents and more. A document from an American Memory collection, "African American Odyssey", is shown in the illustration.

    Making of America
    A digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. The collection currently contains approximately 8,500 books and 50,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints.

    Our Documents
    Explore 100 milestone documents of American history. Collaborative project from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration and others.

  2. Use a Web directory for history. A Web directory is a collection of links to sites that are selected by an editor. A Web directory that focuses only on history can help you locate other primary sources on the Web, in addition to those listed here. Here are some useful directories:

    Best of History Web Sites - sites selected and rated by editors.

    Yahoo! History: Web Directories - use this directory to find other directories.

  3. More information about finding and evaluating primary sources on the Web:

    Using Primary Sources on the Web

Activity

Use Best of History Web Sites to locate primary sources.

[Site opens in new window.]

Pop Quiz

Which of these sources will help you to find Web sites with primary sources?

Correct answer: [NOTE: Score is not recorded]

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