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Jim Crow Time Capsule: Primary Sources

Ways to Find Primary Sources

EBSCO Discovery Service

Search for books that contain letters, diary excerpts, maps, images, and interviews in Calarco Discovery Service. Start with the suggested searches below:

  • Sources + [search term]
  • Letters + [search term]
  • Diaries + [search term]
  • Interview + [search term]
Google Web Search

Use Google to find online exhibits from libraries, museums, and archives, as well as digitized books, maps, government documents, and more. 

Google Strategies

Try these primary source keywords in searches, making sure to test different combinations

  • documents + [search term]
  • texts + [search term]
  • sources + [search term]
  • "primary sources" + [search term]
  • "personal narratives" + [search term]
  • diaries + [search term]
  • interviews + [search term]
  • oral history + [search term]
  • testimony + [search term]

SAMPLE TOPIC: Segregation in the United States

Search strategies

  • use OR to find synonyms in the same search
    • Example: (segregated OR segregating OR segregation OR "jim crow" OR "separate but equal")
  • combine with some synonyms terms relating to primary documents\
    • Example: (documents OR sources OR diaries) and (segregated OR segregating OR segregation OR "jim crow" OR "separate but equal")

1.  Ask Questions: 

  • Who created the source and why? Was it a spur-of-the-moment act, or a deliberate process?
  • Did the recorder have firsthand knowledge of the event, or did he/she report what others saw?
  • Was the recorder a neutral party, or did he/she have opinions that might have influenced the record?
  • Did the recorder produce the source for personal use, for a small group, or a large audience?
  • Was the source meant to be public or private?
  • Did the recorder wish to inform or to persuade others? Did the recorder have reasons to be honest or dishonest?

2.  Incorporate into your paper:

  • Introduce source with information about who wrote it, when it was written, or why it was written.
  • Incorporate ideas you've taken from the source by paraphrasing, summarizing or using a direct quote.
  • Analyze the ideas by including your response, interpretation or argument (for or against), and indicate how the idea relates to your thesis.  

3.  How to cite:

  • Choose the format in which you found the source.  If you found it in a book --- book; if found in a database -- choose database; if found on a web site -- choose website.  
  • A librarian or your teacher can help you decide

Noodletools Login/Create Account (small graphic)

Step 1: Go to Noodletools sign in

Step 2: Click on Google under Sign In/Register

Step 3: Sign in with your Hopkins email

Step 4: Click on Create a New Account

Step 5: Select Student/Library Patron--Year of graduation--Save 

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