When looking for primary sources…
Books themselves may be primary sources, or may contain primary source material, such as images, letters, or speeches.
Methods for unearthing primary source material in book catalogs and online collections:
Limit by topic words. Use words describing a type of primary source (photographs, correspondence, interviews, surveys, polls, memoirs, etc.) combined with topic keywords.
Example: Colorado diaries
Limit by year of publication. A book written in the year of a historical event, may itself be a primary source.
Locate bibliographies. You may find a book-length bibliography which points to primary sources for your topic area. Combine topic keyword(s) with the word bibliography. Sample titles are below.
The Auraria Library subscribes and links to numerous online collections containing primary resources from time periods throughout history, worldwide. Here are just a few examples of noteworthy databases featuring nothing but primary resources.
We also have additional databases with primary sources. On Auraria Library's Database List (linked below) search for any of the keywords listed below for a list of databases that may contain primary sources.
In addition to the more obvious materials, primary sources may be:
Public documents are also primary sources and include property records, corporation registrations, patents, trademarks, military records, licenses and permits, voter registration, court judgments, laws and regulations, and marriage, divorce, birth and death records, and more. Depending on the type of record, the information may be kept at the local, state, or national level and arrangements for finding and accessing public documents vary from state to state.