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Primary Sources: Finding Primary Sources in the Library Databases

A guide to assist you with defining and finding primary sources

Historic Newspapers

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America's Historical Newspapers: Search for American newspapers published across three centuries which chronicle the evolution of American culture and daily life.

Florida Digital Newspaper Library (UF) The FDNL provides access to the news and history of Florida. All of the over 1.5 million pages of historic through current Florida newspapers in the Florida Digital Newspaper Library are openly and freely available with zoomable page images and full text.

Google News Archive: Browse thousands of historic newspapers in this A to Z list. 

Library of Congress - Chronicling America: Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1924 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress.

Life: 1936-2000: Life magazine focuses through photos on politics, fashion, personalities, science, sports and other current issues.

New York Times (1851-1922) and (1923-2009)

ProQuest: Under "Source Type" select "Historical Newspapers"

Time: 1923-2000: Time magazine reports national and international news and offers articles on the subjects of behavior, books, business, cinema, law, education, environment, modern living, music, nation, press, religion, theater, video, and world affairs.

Primary Sources within the Library Databases

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Academic Search Complete: Under "Publication Type" select "Primary Source Document"

Alexander Street - Music Online: Combines audio and video that spans all time periods, hundreds of thousands of seminal artists, composers, and choreographers.

Archives Unbound: Collections in Archives Unbound cover a broad range of topics from the Middle Ages forward - from Witchcraft to World War II to twentieth-century political history.

ARTstor: ARTstor is a rich digital library that will offer collections of art images and descriptive information as well as the software tools to enable active use of the collections. The ARTstor Library's initial content includes approximately 500,000 images covering art, architecture and archeology.

The Civil War: Sources in U.S. History Online:  Consisting of nearly 500 titles totaling about 90,000 pages of text, this digital collection has been selected and edited by Professor Paul Finkelman of the Albany Law School. Drawn from the Sabin collection and other Gale sources, the archive provides access to a wide variety of documents: personal narratives and memoirs, pamphlets and political speeches, sermons and songs, regimental histories and photograph albums, legal treatises and children's books.

Digital Theatre Plus: Offers the highest quality online experience of theatre arts.

LION: Literature Online is a fully searchable library of more than 350,000 works of English and American poetry, drama and prose. Click on "Texts" to search.

Literature Criticism Online: Click on "advanced search" and look under "by content type" to choose "Primary Sources and Literary Works"

Naxos Music Library: Naxos Music Library [NML] is the world's largest online classical music library. It offers streaming access to more than 31,510 albums.

Sabin AmericanaBased on Joseph Sabin's landmark bibliography, this collection contains works about the Americas published throughout the world from 1500 to the early 1900's. Included are books, pamphlets, serials and other documents that provide original accounts of exploration, trade, colonialism, slavery and abolition, the western movement, Native Americans, military actions and much more. With over 6 million pages from 29,000 works, this collection is a cornerstone in the study of the western hemisphere.

Primary Sources in the Sciences

Primary sources (or primary research) in the sciences are original research studies usually found in published articles that include hypotheses, experiments, analyses, data, and a conclusion. Primary research can be found in all scientific fields, including the health sciences, psychology, chemistry, physics, biology, and the like.

Scientific research articles are usually very specific and geared toward professionals in the field.

Examples of Primary Research:

  • Patents
  • Original research articles
  • Conference papers
  • Technical papers

Databases to search for Primary Scientific Research:

CINAHL: The Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature provides indexing and abstracting for over 1,600 current nursing and allied health journals and publications dating back to 1982. This database covers nursing, biomedicine, health sciences librarianship, alternative/complementary medicine, consumer health and 17 allied health disciplines. Click on "Research Article" or "Evidence-Based Practice" to find primary research.

Dryad: The Dryad Digital Repository is a curated resource that makes the data underlying scientific publications discoverable, freely reusable, and citable. Dryad provides a general-purpose home for a wide diversity of datatypes.

Ovid: A comprehensive, integrated Nursing & Allied Health portal for practice, education, research, and administration. This site will also link you to the Joanna Briggs Evidence Based Practice database. Under "Publication Types" you are able to choose "Original Articles" or "Technical Reports."

Psychiatryonline: Features the DSM-V Casebook and its Treatment Companion Journals including The American Journal of Psychiatry, Psychiatric Services, Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, and Academic Psychiatry. Includes Clinical & Research Reports (filter under "Article Type" after searching).

SciFinder Scholar: SciFinder provides access to the world's most comprehensive and authoritative source of references, substances and reactions in chemistry and related sciences. You need to set up an account for access. To establish your account, login through Esearch first. You will need to use this user name and password to access this source both on-campus and off-campus.

ScienceDirect: Access to a comprehensive collection of scientific, technical and medical literature. Contains over 2000+ peer-reviewed full-text journals within three broad subject classifications 1. Social & Behavioral Sciences 2. Physical Sciences 3. Health & Life Sciences. Science Direct clearly indicates "Original Research Article" next to each citation.