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HST 268 & 269: African History to 1870 and The Colonial Encounter in Africa: Primary Source Collections

Dr. Plageman

Tips for Locating Primary Sources

Choose historically appropriate keywords. For example, use "Great War" instead of "World War I" to locate documents discussing the war during and just after it occurred. You may also consider different terms that might have been used to describe the same event from opposing sides or perspectives. Searching for the names of particular people or places may also be effective, but consider how the names might be presented (last name only, or as part of a title) and how country and city names have changed over time.

Think about what types of primary sources might have been produced that would be relevant to your topic; think also about which persons or organizations might have produced materials. Some possible types of sources:

Books  Photographs and images
Magazine and newspaper articles Cartoons and advertisements 
Diaries and journals  Movies, videos, and DVDs
Memoirs and autobiographies Audio recordings
Interviews Public opinion polls
Letters  Fiction
Speeches  Research data and statistics
Documents produced by organizations Documents produced by government agencies,
including congressional hearings and census records 

To locate potential primary sources in the library's online catalog, Primo, look for subject headings that contain terms such as diaries, letters, correspondence, autobiography, interviews, or personal narratives following the main heading. 


Selected Primary Source Collections

These are just a few of the possible primary source collections available through ZSR and on the web. Visit the Primary Sources subject page for more options. Need help finding a specific primary source? Ask me! 

Please note that this is combined guide for both HST 268 (up to 1870) and 269 (after 1870). Pay close attention to dates and date ranges as you search! 

Newspaper & Magazine Databases

Selected Books

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