What is a Primary Source?
Primary sources are first-hand accounts, original manuscripts, or records or documents produced at the time of the event. Letters, photographs, speeches, interviews, government documents, historical records, and personal papers are some examples of primary sources. These may be available in their original form, or they may be reproduced or reprinted in another book or microform collection.
UT Library Catalog Search
Reproductions of Primary Sources in the Libraries
The Library has a variety of reproduced primary source documents in both print and microform. To locate primary source materials that we own, regardless of format, search the UT Library Catalog.
The catalog can locate specific primary source titles such as the New York Times or The Diary of Anne Frank. Often, however, you do not have a specific title, but are looking for something by a particular person or on a particular topic.
An author search is an effective way to locate the letters, papers or diaries of individuals. To perform an author search, type in the persons last name, then first name and press enter. For example, if you search Jefferson, Thomas you will find 62 items some of which are titled the "The letters of..." or "The papers of...".
You will often see subject headings toward the bottom of the the UT Library Catalog record, such as Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826 -- Manuscripts or Presidents -- United States -- Correspondence that can be searched for more primary sources related to the topic.
A good way to locate primary documents pertaining to events or places is to perform a keywords search. This allows you to combine topics with terms like narratives, diaries, correspondence, interviews, records, newspapers, sources, papers and manuscripts, which indicate primary sources. For example, the keyword search Holocaust and narratives, produces many titles that provide firsthand accounts, while Charleston and newspapers produces 7 newspapers published during the Colonial era. As with the author searches above, you may use the subject headings that appear on the screen to find similar documents.
Add terms like indexes, bibliography and catalogs to your keyword searches to locate finding aids available. They are particularly important in using the microform collections. For example, the keyword search, British colonial records indexes, will identify A Guide to British Public Record Office, Colonial Office, Class 5 Files, an index to a 53 reel collection (Records of the British Colonial Office, Class 5) available in the Microform & Multimedia.
Primary Sources in the Canaday Center
The Ward M. Canaday Center, located on the fifth floor of Carlson Library, is a repository of original primary source documents.
• The University Archives, which record the history of the Univeristy of Toledo through files, photographs, clippings, and other documents produced here.
• Manuscript Collections, which are the records of other organizations and individuals entrusted to the Center, such as local businesses, non-profit organizations, and authors.
• Rare books, including first editions and older books that document contemporary life
The Canaday Center's mission is to support the curriculum of the University of Toledo. The emphasis for collecting is placed on acquiring 20th century materials, mainly because of the availability of these materials. The Canaday Center's manuscript and rare book collections are cataloged in the UT Library Catalog. Please see Finding Manuscripts and Archival Materials for more information about searching for these materials.
Guides to Collections on Microform
- Humanities Research Collections- An annotated guide to fourteen major primary source microform collections, many of value to history research such as Early American Imprints, 1639-1800; Great Britain. Statues of the Realm, 1225-1713; Slavery Source Materials; U.S. Presidential Papers in the Library of Congress; and others.
- Guide to History-Related Microform Holdings at the University of Toledo- A reference book published in 1986. It identifies items in the library's Microfilm Reading Room, many of them primary sources. Part one covers books, pamphlets, manuscripts, laws and government documents by country. Part two lists newspapers. Part three lists journals and magazines. Alphabetic arrangement by title.
- Research Collections in Microform, Bowling Green State University Libraries and the University of Toledo Libraries- Also published in 1986. Less specific coverage of the same UT material in the Guide to History-Related Microform Holdings at the University of Toledo above. However, provides better information on content, arrangement and finding aids, as well as access to BGSU's collection. Subject index.
- History Primary Sources in Microform- A list of the titles of primary sources in various microformats available at Carlson Library and other OhioLINK libraries.