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Primary Source Document resources

Databases

Many of the databases that HCPL subscribes to contain primary source documents. Databases are listed in alphabetical order except for the first two which are widely used and have been placed at the top of the list. When selecting one of the databases, you will be prompted to enter your library card number if you are accessing it from outside of the libraries’ buildings.

Newspaper and magazine databases

Newspaper and magazine/journal articles are primary sources. HCPL offers the following databases which specialize in newspapers/journals/magazines:

  • Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers - Search the historic newspaper pages from 1860–1922. Users can also find information about newspapers from 1960 to the present.
  • Harper’s Weekly: 1857 – 1912 - the definitive online version of this newspaper for the latter part of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, providing insight into the political, sociological, cultural, and economic issues of the day. The database includes over 75,000 illustrations, cartoons, maps and portraits.
  • The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project - The Historic Maryland Newspapers Project is an ongoing effort to digitize Maryland's newspapers and make them accessible for free on the Library of Congress' Chronicling America website. Our project is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities' (NEH) National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) grants. As part of the program, we adhere to NDNP standards for title selection and digitization.
  • Historical U.S. Newspapers - full-text and full-image articles for significant U.S. newspapers dating back to the 18th century. Includes The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post.
  • Newspapers.com extensive online database of 4,000+ historical newspapers from the early 1700s into the 2000s.

History databases

  • Ancient and Medieval History Online – covers six ancient centers of civilizations--Africa, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Mesoamerica, Mesopotamia and time periods ranging from 3 to 5 million years ago through 1522. Choose your topic from the “Topic Centers” and you will find Primary Sources in the sidebar on the right.
  • History Reference Center – you can do an Advanced Search and select Primary Source Document in the Publication Type box. Or, you can do a basic search. Once your results appear, you can refine your search (left sidebar) to just primary sources by selecting that box under Source Types and clicking “update.”

Other specialized databases

  • Biography in Context - comprehensive reference database of biographical information on more than 180,000 people from throughout history, around the world, and across all disciplines. In addition to any articles/videos, etc., available on an individual, you can search for a primary source using the advanced search. Put the name of the person in the search box, and then scroll down to Content Type and check Primary Sources and search.
  • Science Reference Center – do an advanced search, and, along with your search terms, select Primary Source Document for the Publication Type.

General databases covering most academic subjects

  • Encyclopaedia Britannica The online Encyclopaedia Britannica offers three levels for searching: one for children, young adults and reference. Britannica Library also offers Original Sources (find the link in the upper right-hand corner). Original Sources has thousands of primary source documents in history, literature, politics, religion and more. Check out our mobile app page for Britannica Library on the go!
  • Explora - Secondary Schools - With Explora, you will discover reliable information on thousands of topics covering a wide range of subjects including art and music, literature, language arts, geography, history, social studies, world cultures and languages, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, health and sports. Offers the most complete collection of full-text reference resources available for middle schools.
  • Explora - Public Libraries- With Explora, you will discover reliable information on thousands of topics covering a wide range of subjects including art and music, literature, language arts, geography, history, social studies, world cultures and languages, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, health and sports. Supports student research. Search results include articles, essays, and primary source documents.

Web Sites for Primary Sources

http://www.loc.gov/teachers/usingprimarysources/finding.html

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html

http://www.ala.org/rusa/sections/history/resources/primarysources

http://www.archives.gov/education/research/primary-sources.html

Oral History

Harford Living Treasures Oral History: over 209 oral histories have been collected from various Harford County Living Treasures as recordings and transcripts of the interviews. In some cases, video or photographs are also included. These are housed in the Bel Air Branch and can be found in our online catalog. Type “Harford Living Treasures” into the search box of our catalog.

Any Harford County resident who is at least 70 years old, and has lived in the county for at least 40 years, can be nominated as a Harford Living Treasure. Harford County Living Treasures oral history interviews are being digitized in audio and/or video format and published on the Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage (MDCH) website.