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Archives 101: Find Primary Sources in Special Collections & Archives: General Tips

How to find primary sources.

Things to keep in mind

If you are thinking about using archival resources for your research, here are some general tips you should keep in mind:

  • Think about what types of primary sources might exist that would be relevant to your research topic, and which persons or organizations might have produced these materials.
  • When you ask for reference assistance, be prepared to explain your project and topic clearly and to discuss the searching you have already done on your own.
  • You won’t know whether an archival collection will have enough material for your research project until you read the finding aid and begin using the materials.
  • It’s best to start using the material before writing a proposal since it might not be what you expected.
  • Don’t expect to find everything on a topic arranged together.
  • Note our hours.

We can help!

Special Collections Reference Group Email Alias's picture
Special Collections Reference Group Email Alias
Doris Lewis Rare Book Room
Dana Porter Library, first floor
519-888-4567 ext. 32619

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