primary sources

primary sources

Primary Science

Primary Science

The use of primary sources is a staple of academic research – these are sources created by someone involved in the matter being described.  In the humanities, these typically take the form of letters, diaries, or the like – for the historian, a diary is usually valued more than a book written by someone who wasn’t involved.  This isn’t to say that secondary sources have no worth, as those can often take a longer or more nuanced view than that of a person in the thick of things – but the value of a direct witness cannot be understated.  Numerous databases are built around these types of materials, like American Civil War: Letters and Diaries, Gale Primary Sources, or The … Continued
Beginning … again: Academic resources for a successful Spring semester

Beginning … again: Academic resources for a successful Spring semester

With 2020 behind us (whew!) it’s time to look forward to a new year and new opportunities. A new semester is a fresh start, and we want to share useful and reliable resources, culled from past Campus Library blogs, that can benefit your academic work. Just a few clicks and you’re on your way to a successful semester! Navigating the library website IUEREF for Academic Success provides a handy overview for how to find what you need at the Campus Library website. Our campus has almost 300,000 electronic books in our collection and more than 600 databases.  Our librarians and professional staff are committed to assisting you with knowledgeable and timely reference and research that will help achieve your academic … Continued
History with the Eyewitnesses

History with the Eyewitnesses

244 years ago, on Christmas Day of 1776, General George Washington led a force across the Delaware River to attack a Hessian outpost in Trenton.  His army, which up until then had lost battle after battle, was near the point of dissolution – the enlistments for most of the men would expire at the end of the year, extinguishing the American ability to field an army. The Battle of Trenton was one of the most unexpected, as well as complete, victories American forces had achieved, and it reinvigorated the flagging army at the point when the fragile nation was closest to disintegration.  Soldiers reenlisted, and observers both foreign and domestic realized that American troops could, in fact, stand up to … Continued
Go to the sources! Primary sources at IU East

Go to the sources! Primary sources at IU East

A primary source is an original “real thing.” It could be a song written in your favorite artist’s handwriting – maybe even on the back of an envelope.  Or Leonardo da Vinci’s sketch of one of his early paintings.  It could even be your family’s old Bible, with the names of your ancestors written, with dates of birth, marriage and other life events.  “Real things” come in a variety of forms, shapes, contexts and types. Through IU East, you have access to a number of these types of documents. Check out these highlights! African American Communities This database includes a variety of materials related to the African American experience, across multiple communities.  From documentation of segregation and racist activity against … Continued
Living in Interesting Times

Living in Interesting Times

Do you keep a diary?  In times of crisis, firsthand, contemporaneous accounts are among the most valuable to the historians of later decades.  We call these ‘primary’ sources – those created by the people who lived the events that are described.  Letters and diaries have long been fertile sources for understanding history, and the blogs and emails of today will likely inform the historians of tomorrow.  While our times can seem unprecedented, calamities of various sorts have always shaped the eras they happened in.  The Influenza pandemic of 1918, commonly called the Spanish Flu, is often held up as a comparison to today’s struggle with the COVID-19 coronavirus.  Studying how people survived previous crises and catastrophes; and the lived experience … Continued