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The Hulbert Taft, Jr. Library

Revolutions: Final Project: Primary Sources

Primary Sources

Sources created by those who lived it

Any document, image, or artifact created at the time of the topic being researched is a primary source. Examples include: eyewitness accounts, autobiographies and memoirs, diaries, letters, speeches, reports, newspapers, household and day-to-day objects, clothing, works of art, architecture, and photographs.

Please note: primary source documents are a reflection of the time and culture in which they were created and may contain language or images that are considered offensive today.


Tips for Citing Primary Sources in NoodleTools

History Databases Containing Primary Sources

Resource Allows NoodleTools Export  Citations can be exported from this source to NoodleTools.

Historical Newspaper / Periodical Databases

Important tips for searching for primary sources in these databases:

  • Always limit your search to the date range relevant to your topic.
  • Try searching terms, phrases, etc. that were commonly used at the time in relation to your topic. For example: World War I was known as the Great War until World War II.
  • Look for document-type limiters that may improve your results, such as article, commentary, editorial, front page / cover story, letter to the editor, etc.

Primary Sources for the First Agricultural Revolution

Primary sources for the First Agricultural Revolution (Neolithic era) are artifacts, such as farm tools and pottery, as well as Neolithic sites, such as the Fertile Crescent in the Middle East. 

Images of these tools, pottery, sites, and other Neolithic artifacts can be found in the following databases:

Primary Sources for the Golden Age of Islam

See also the course guide: Foundations: Islamic Empires

In many cases, primary sources are works of art and science. Choose any of the specific Islamic Empire pages for information relating to primary sources for that empire: Delhi Sultanate, Mughal Empire, Safavid Empire, Ottoman Empire, Caliphate of Cordoba, Mamluk Sultanate.

From the Foundation for Science, Technology, and Civilisation:

  • 1001 Inventions  An award-winning site from FSTC that raises awareness of the golden age of Arabic Science beginning with the 7th century.

  • Muslim Heritage Discover the golden age of Muslim civilization.

FSTC is dedicated to researching and popularizing the history of pre-Renaissance civilizations, especially the Muslim civilization, that have had an impact upon the scientific, technological and cultural heritage of our modern world.


Find Primary Sources Using Advanced Search in RhinoCat

RhinoCat is the Library's automated catalog of books, ebooks,
and other library materials.


CLICK HERE TO DO AN ADVANCED SEARCH which will identify books and ebooks, including Reference Sources, containing primary sources: 

  • In the first Advanced Search line change Keyword to Subject and paste in (sources OR diaries OR narratives) including parentheses ( )
  • In the second Keyword search line, replace the xxxxx with your search term(s). NOTE: If your keyword term is a phrase, use quotation marks around the phrase: "Berlin Wall"


If you have any questions, see
Mr. Padgett, Ms. Taylor, or Mr. Previti
OR email us at
We're here to help!


PLEASE NOTE: Do not copy and paste complete citations from electronic sources. NoodleTools cannot generate footnotes from copied and pasted citations.


To cite a Primary Source, first choose the NoodleTools option that best describes where you found it:

  • Database = You can export citations from many of our databases. If you find a document in a Taft Subscription Database that doesn't have the export feature, you will need to create an original citation.
    • You must provide the permanent URL for your source. Look for any of the following on the page: permalink, persistent link, stable link, durable link, "Get link",Cite, or Citable Link.
  • Website = a document found on the Websites page of the course guide, found through a web directory like SweetSearch or a search engine such as Google. 
  • Print or In Hand = a document found in a book in the library. For example: in a reference book or a secondary source.

Next, determine what kind of primary source you are citing:

  • Look at the list of options in NoodleTools. Is it a newspaper article, a speech, a letter, or another item listed? If so, choose that item type.
  • If you are not sure, you can use "Anthology / Collection" which enables you to cite a source found within another source.
You can also see (or email) Mr. Padgett, Ms. Taylor or Mr. Previti and we'll help you figure it out.