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Reports / Speeches / Commentaries
When researching the cultural history of an object, in addition to searching for public opinion reaction in news sources, you may want to search for primary sources that were produced along with the object, such as:
- Architectural plans, drawings
- Proposals written to advocate for the project
- Responses to proposals from municipal governments, funding agencies, local citizen groups
- Documents produced by the organization responsible for the caretaking of the object (e.g. museum, parks, etc.)
- City maps and/or urban planning documents
Such documents are inherently challenging to locate and access, as they are often held in archives and frequently not digitized. If you wish to access such sources, you may need to contact librarians, archivists, curators at libraries and museums and request copies of documents.
How to start:
- Identify the caretaking agency for the object (e.g. museum, park, foundation), find their web site and see what documents are available online (e.g. news archives) and/or contact an archivist or curator
- Identify the artist/creator and search for biographies (in library catalog or Worldcat), interviews (in news databases)
- Access municipal documents (reports, ordinances, statistics) through cities' web site and/or archives
- Use reference sources to look for background information on the area and/or subject of the object
Where to start:
You can use library catalog to identify and locate published primary sources.
To search, combine your topic, Library of Congress Subject Headings such as:
- Personal Narrative
Archive Finder This link opens in a new window
Describes collections of primary source materials housed in repositories in the United States, United Kingdom, and Ireland. Searchable by keyword for topics, creators, etc.
ArchiveGrid This link opens in a new window
Indexes major museum and archive collections in the United States and throughout the world. Searchable by collection topic or by location.
Biography (Gale in Context) This link opens in a new window
Includes biographical profiles from reference sources, newspapers, magazines, and journals. Covers all time periods and areas of the world.
Oxford Art Online This link opens in a new window
Provides access to the Grove Dictionary of Art and the Benezit Dictionary of Artists, among other titles. Includes information on all aspects of art and an image collection.
Oxford Music Online This link opens in a new window
Includes biographies and reference articles on all genres of music, musicians, and musical instruments.