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How to Find Primary Sources

Find specific types of primary sources:
  • Newspaper articles
  • Government Documents
  • Pamphlets,

What is a primary source?

A primary source is a first-hand account of an event. Primary sources may include newspaper articles, letters, diaries, interviews, laws, reports of government commissions, and many other types of documents.

 

Understanding Citations

Citation: A reference to a source used in an article, essay, book, etc.

Most citations of articles include the following information:

  • Author
  • Article title
  • Journal or magazine title
  • Volume number of the journal or magazine
  • Date of publication
  • Page numbers of the article (some citations only include the beginning page number)

See Citing Sources for advice on documenting the references you have used to write a paper.

Reading a Citation

1. This citation was found in the database Web of Science:

We can identify:

Article Author(s): Michael Bode and Hugh Possingham
Article Title: Can culling a threatened species increase its chance of persisting?
Journal Title (Source):  Ecological Modelling
Journal volume number: 201, issue number 1
Article page numbers: 11-18
Date of Publication: February 10, 2007
Other information provided:
  • Sp. Iss. SI indicates that this was a special issue of the journal
  • identifies document type as article (not book, book chapter, abstract, dissertation, etc)
  • identifies that the article is written in English
2. This citation was found in the database PAIS:

We can identify:

Article Author(s): Anthony N. Doob, and Jane B. Sprott
Article Title: Punishing Youth Crime in Canada: The Blind Men and the Elephant
Journal Title (Source):  Punishment & Society
Journal volume number: 8, issue number 2
Article page numbers: 223-233
Date of Publication: April 2006
Other information provided:
  • provides the ISSN for the journal Punishment and Society to assist in locating the item
  • indicates that the authors (or main author) are affiliated with the University of Toronto

How Libraries Classify Books (and How to Take Advantage of it!)

Materials (books, journals, magazines, etc.) in the library are now classified according to the Library of Congress ("LC" ) system.
LC assigns call numbers, which we use to shelve the books, by subjects. We use LC Subject Headings in our online catalog.
Learning to use them can help you save time and find books you might not get using only keyword searches.

  • A -- GENERAL WORKS
  • B -- PHILOSOPHY. PSYCHOLOGY. RELIGION
  • C -- AUXILIARY SCIENCES OF HISTORY
  • D -- WORLD HISTORY AND HISTORY OF EUROPE, ASIA, AFRICA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND, ETC.
  • E -- HISTORY OF THE AMERICAS
  • F -- HISTORY OF THE AMERICAS
  • G -- GEOGRAPHY. ANTHROPOLOGY. RECREATION
  • H -- SOCIAL SCIENCES
  • J -- POLITICAL SCIENCE
  • K -- LAW - WP version
  • L -- EDUCATION - WP
  • M -- MUSIC AND BOOKS ON MUSIC
  • N -- FINE ARTS
  • P -- LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE
  • Q -- SCIENCE
  • R -- MEDICINE
  • S -- AGRICULTURE
  • T -- TECHNOLOGY
  • U -- MILITARY SCIENCE
  • V -- NAVAL SCIENCE
  • Z -- BIBLIOGRAPHY. LIBRARY SCIENCE. INFORMATION RESOURCES (GENERAL)

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