Monday, April 5, 2010

Library databases for primary sources

When doing research in the humanities and social sciences, particularly in history, you may be required to use primary sources.

Primary sources can be either first-hand accounts of an event or "byproducts" of that event. A letter to a friend in which the writer reviews a play she saw would be a first-hand account. The script, director's notes, costume and set designers' drawings, and the playbill from that play would be a "byproduct." All are primary sources. They are important because they get you as close to the original event as possible, with minimal interpretation and analysis from other people.

Secondary sources (including your research paper) use and are based on primary sources.

The Empire State College Library has a number of databases that contain primary sources.
Most of them will require you to enter your college login and password.
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