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HUMN 4030: The Art of Travel (Bernardini): Find Primary Sources

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are original artifacts or documents. They are usually defined as first hand information that are communicated by witnesses or participants in past events. They also include original creative works such as poetry, fiction, and plays. Primary sources are characterized not by their format but rather by the information they convey and their relationship to your research question.

Examples of primary sources include, but are not limited to:

  • Diaries and literary memoirs
  • Letters/correspondence
  • Artistic works (musical and visual arts)
  • News segments/transcripts
  • Speeches
  • Interviews
  • Editorials
  • Legal documents and statistics 
  • Eyewitness accounts
  • Experiment results
  • Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Fieldwork
  • Emails/ blogs/ listservs
  • Creative writing
  • Audio and video

Primary Sources in Literature

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Consider using a gazetteer

A gazetteer is a place name dictionary or index used to search the history of a place. This is particularly helpful for learning about places whose names or boundaries have changed over time or for names with variant spellings. If a place name has changed over time, you can incorporate its other names in your search. You can search OneSearch with the name of the country or region you are interested in and the word "gazetteer" or "place names." 

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Local Data:

State Data:

National and International data:

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Guides:

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