Finding Primary Sources Online

Finding Primary Sources Online

Many libraries and archival repositories are digitizing their special collections and making them available online. Below are two popular and authoritative digital collections.

Evaluate the format

An online version of a primary source may be referred to as a primary source surrogate. When using primary source surrogates, you should ask the following questions.

1. What is the authority/credibility of the organization that made the source available online?

  • Does it list the citation for the source from which it was reproduced?
  • Does it tell you how the sources were digitized? Were certain standards adhered to?

2. Does the new format affect the integrity of the source? How does it differ from the original?

  • For example, is anything omitted from the new format like graphics?