Skip to main content

History and Political Science



Government Publications

Search Tips

Primary sources are documents written during the time being studied. They may be firsthand accounts that document the point of view of a participant in an event or accounts recorded by observers.

Always keep in mind that primary sources use the language of the period. Words may be spelled differently, and terms used to refer to events or people may vary from modern usage.

When searching for information related to an event, use the limits in the database to narrow your search to a particular date or period of time. This will eliminate later material on the same subject from your search results.

Many primary sources are freely available online. For suggested websites with primary source content, please visit the Websites tab.


To find primary sources in books, search the MERLIN library catalog. Try adding one of the following to your search term or topic: diaries, personal narratives, documents, sources, oral history, interviews, speeches, and correspondence.

Keyword Search