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HIST 213: World History, 600-2000

Research guide for HIST 213 (Fall 2023)

Primary Sources

What are primary sources?

Primary sources are original documents and objects created during the time being studied, such as diaries, newspaper accounts, letters, governmental records, or drawings. Any record that documents a past event can be considered a primary source.

Where can I find primary sources? 

This guide will provide resources for you to find the types of primary sources needed for this assignment. Additionally, you can find primary sources in libraries, museums, and archives, online on these institutions' websites, and in databases subscribed to by the McGill Library.

Media Account

Source 1: A media account of the period



Broadcast News

Contemporary Views

Source 2: The writings, or recorded accounts, of a person who actively participated in these events

Find contemporary views in the library catalogue

Memoirs, diaries, correspondence, and other types of primary sources that express contemporary views are rarely published in the time of the events they concern. These views are sometimes published later and even translated into English, and can be found in the library catalogue.

Strategy: search for an event (with the exact phrase in quotations) AND a word indicating a firsthand or eyewitness account

diary OR diaries
"first person"
"oral history"
speech OR speeches

Example: "berlin wall" AND diary 

This strategy also works for locating firsthand accounts by a known individual. 

Example: "Ronald Reagan" AND diary

Other Sources

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