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HIST388: American Indian History

Finding Primary Sources

Finding primary sources is a multi-step process. There is no "one-stop-shop" database that will give you everything you need for your paper. Follow these tips: 

  • Look at the bibliographies and footnotes from articles and books to see what primary sources those scholars are using for evidence
  • Think and research multiple institutions, archives, or repositories that could have information and collections about your project
  • Use historical language 
  • Keep it simple. Use broad keywords to find sources

When searching for primary source collections online, include the following additional phrases with your first key words: 

  • online collections
  • digital collections
  • digitized collections
  • historical collections

Be aware that digital collections only show a small portion of what an institution holds!