History 130: Rioting in British History

Rioting in British History
Professor: Sofia Zepeda
Spring 2021

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are first-hand accounts, that serve as original evidence documenting a period, event, people, idea or work. 

Primary sources can be printed materials like books or newspapers, manuscript and archival materials like diaries and documents, artifacts, and audio/visual materials. Primary materials can be found in analog, digitized, and born-digital forms. 

Some examples of primary sources include:

  • Memoirs, speeches, writings, correspondence
  • Papers of a political party, agency, or association
  • Official documents such as congressional hearings and reports
  • Contemporary magazine and newspaper articles
  • Contemporary art, films, literature, and music
  • Contemporary artifacts, such as buildings and monuments

Strategies for Finding Digitized Archival Collections

Search Google

  • Enter keywords for your topic, event, or person
  • Add search terms such as "archives," "digital," or "digitized"
  • Also try search terms related to the type of primary source you would like to find, such as "oral history,"  "transcript," "speech," etc.

Be sure to evaluate the sites you find, particularly who created the site in order to determine biases and what information might be included/excluded.

Search Williams WorldCat

Some libraries catalog their digitized archival collections in Williams​ WorldCat.

  • Search for your topic, event, or person
  • Look at the Format facet on the left, and choose "downloadable archival material," "computer file," "continually updated resource," or "website" 

Note: some items will not be freely available or may just be collection finding aids.