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Primary Sources

How to find primary sources on the web and in the Broome Library.

Find Primary Sources in OneSearch

Here are a few search strategies for finding primary sources in OneSearch:

1. Try searching for sources that were published at the same time as the historical event or while the subject was alive.

For example if your topic is Rosa Parks:

  • In OneSearch conduct an Advanced Keyword Search for Rosa Parks
  • Limit your results with the Publication Date drop down menu (Specific Date) OR use the "Refine my results" feature to filter your results by Date Created (left window-pane)

You search results should reflect items published during Rosa Park's life, these could be primary sources written by Parks, or by people who knew her providing first hand accounts.

2. Use Key Words (found below) to search for common primary source materials. Combine these common key words with your research topic. 

For example: "Rosa Parks" and "diary"


  • personal narratives 
  • documents
  • speeches
  • memoirs 
  • diaries
  • interviews
  • oral history
  • letters
  • biography 
  • testimonies