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Q&A: Finding Primary Documents

Question: Is there a way to look up only primary documents in Socrates?

Answer: Primary sources are original records created during the time period you are researching, and are not interpreted by someone else. Examples could include newspapers, letters, and diaries. Primary sources may also be materials created at a later date by a participant or observer of the time period through memoirs, autobiographies or oral histories.

Given this definition, you can use Socrates' advanced search to locate primary sources. For instance, if your research topic is Martin Luther King Jr then you can do combined search in Socrates for "Martin Luther King Jr" and "Diaries" -- or sources or papers or letters etc.

Also, depending on your topic, the library has access to several licensed databases that include primary resources. Check Databases A - Z for databases such as "North American Immigrant Letters, Diaries and Oral Histories" and websites like American Memory from the library congress.

If you need assistance please do visit the Information Center for further consultation.

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