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A Guide to Comparative Cultural Studies and Humanities Research: Finding Primary Sources

Where to Find Primary Visual Sources

Primary visual sources can include paintings, sketches, textiles, manuscripts, maps, letters, diaries, photos, and sculptures.

More Primary Sources on the Web

Murals and Maps

Historic Newspapers

Research Strategies

Primary sources can be challenging to find. The following strategies and resources are good places to start.

When searching primary sources:

  • Start early. Locating primary sources that fit your research often takes several steps.
  • Get help. Schedule an appointment with a librarian. When requesting an appointment, be sure to provide specifics about your research topic and what types of sources you need to locate.
  • Be prepared to utilize information in multiple formats. The best sources for your topic may not be digitized or available online. You may need to use books, microfilm, microfiche or archived documents.

When searching in the Library Catalogsubject headings can designate primary source types. For example:

Impressionism (Art) -- France -- Paris.

Public art -- Arizona -- Phoenix.

In addition, the Advanced Search tab in WorldCat will allow you to limit to Archival Sources.

Search WorldCat to find materials in other libraries:

WorldCat includes records for materials owned by libraries around the world.

Search by keyword, title, or author:

See below for how to order materials you find in WorldCat.