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The Hulbert Taft, Jr. Library


AP U.S. G&P: Landmark Legislation Research Paper: 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

Find Primary Sources in Online Subscription Databases

Important notes regarding searching for primary sources in news / periodical 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.
  • Look at other limiters on the advanced search page that might improve your results, such as article, commentary, editorial, essay, feature, front page / cover story, letter to the editor, etc.

 

The following databases also contain primary source materials:

Contains Primary Sources means this source contains Primary Sources.
Resource Allows NoodleTools Export means you can export the citation for this source to NoodleTools

How to Cite Your Act of Legislation in NoodleTools

One of your most important primary sources is the actual text of your act of legislation.

To cite your act of legislation in NoodleTools, follow these two steps:

  • Choose where you found it: Database, Website, or Print Book or Journal.
  • Select what it is: U.S. Statute
    • The U.S. Statutes at Large is a chronological arrangement of all laws enacted by Congress.
    • The U.S. Code is an updated, subject arrangement of all general and permanent U.S. law so enacted.
    • You can use the Popular Name Tool on the U.S. Code website to find the statute and code information you need to cite your act.

 

Click here for tips on citing other kinds of primary sources in NoodleTools.

Find Primary Sources in RhinoCat Library Catalog

To find primary source material in books/ebooks and reference books/ebooks, follow these tips:

To find primary sources by or about a person relevant to your topic in our catalog

  • Do an Author search using the name of a person relevant to your topic to find books, letters, diaries, memoirs, autobiographies written by that person.
  • Do an Author search using the name of the United States President in office at the time to find Public Papers, as well as books, letters, diaries, memoirs, autobiographies.
  • Do a Keyword search of your person's name to identify writings, interviews, speeches in anthologies and collections.
  • Keywords you can combine with your topic or person's name include speeches, diaries, interviews, and correspondence. For example:
    • Progressive era speeches  
    • Theodore Roosevelt correspondence

To find primary sources on your topic in our catalog

  • Paste the following exact word string into the RhinoCat basic keyword search box below:
    su,wrdl: personal narratives or su,wrdl: sources or su,wrdl: diaries and kw,phr: xxxxx
    • Substitute your broad topic or topic phrase for xxxxx
 

Search RhinoCat 

 

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

Tips for Citing Primary Sources in NoodleTools

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.
NOT SURE? We'll help you figure it out.