Background Information and Reference
What are primary sources?
They are sources which provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. They present original thinking, report a discovery, or share new information.
They are created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events or conditions being documented. They are from the time period involved and have not been filtered through subsequent interpretation or evaluation.
Examples: autobiographies, letters, diaries, musical scores, works of art, speeches, recordings, photographs, articles in newspapers that describe events.
Finding Primary Sources in the UMN Libraries Catalog:
Using the UMN Libraries Catalog, enter as a SUBJECT search the name of the individual, group, or term for the topic, plus a term of what you're looking for, such as "Speeches", "Correspondence", "Diaries", "Personal Narratives", and "Sources". The term "Sources" refers to a collection of primary source materials. Here are some examples:
- "Gorbachev" and "Speeches"
- "Jews" "Czechoslovakia" "Diaries" (this would include diaries of Jews from other periods of German history but you can narrow this down by looking at the records
- "Poland" "History" "Sources"
- To search for autobiographies, search the person as both an AUTHOR and SUBJECT and the term "biography" as a SUBJECT. For example: "Dubcek" as SUBJECT; "Dubcek" as AUTHOR; and "biography" as SUBJECT.
Click "view online," "PDF," or the button to connect to the full text if we have it. The will also indicate whether a print copy is held in the Libraries. If not available, request the item via Interlibrary Loan.
Useful Books on Eastern Europe
Tips for Using Libraries Search and Catalog
Libraries Search will search many article databases, the UMN Library Catalog and other resources. But it doesn't search everything. You may want to search subject specific article databases to find more articles and for more search options. .
The UMN Library Catalog searches books, journals, DVDs, other formats but NOT articles.
You don't need to input diacritics or worry about capitalization. Searching "dubcek" will bring up "Dubček."
To limit by language, format, or subject, use the limits on the right after performing a search in Libraries Search.
One of the most effective ways to search for items on a country, city, or region is to do a subject browse search. Input the geographic place name and browse through the list of subtopics.
Besides searching "Europe, Eastern," you may want to search under specific countries, cities, or regions.
You can also perform a subject browse for a topic or group related to a particular country or place. Search under the group or topic and then the place name (e.g. "women poland").
Citing your sources (e.g. MLA, APA, etc.)
Many article databases (e.g. Academic Search Premier, Google Scholar) will create a citation for you. After you found the item, look for "cite" or "quotes." Here are examples:
In Google Scholar:
In Academic Search Premier:
Learn more about on annotated bibliographies
An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources, each of which is followed by a brief note or “annotation.”