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Medieval and Early Modern Europe Resource Guide

A dedicated guide for assisting students enrolled in MedRen courses.

Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary

Primary sources are the evidence of history, original records or objects created by participants or observers at the time historical events occurred or even well after events, as in memoirs and oral histories. Primary sources may include but are not limited to: letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, newspapers, maps, speeches, interviews, documents produced by government agencies, photographs, audio or video recordings, born-digital items (e.g. emails), research data, and objects or artifacts (such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons). These sources serve as the raw materials historians use to interpret and analyze the past.

(Primary Sources on the Web: Finding, Evaluating, Using, Reference and User Services Association)

Primary Sources in The W's Catalog

Searching for primary sources (e.g. diaries or memoirs, letters, original writings, etc.)?  Here are some helpful hints for finding a primary source within the library stacks.  Search the catalog with a keyword and one of these subject headings:

Encyclopedias can also provide information on various historical details.  They are helpful when trying to imagine yourself from the perspective of someone not from your own time/place/culture.

Search the online catalog for "encyclopedias" and your topic of interest as subject terms, i.e. "encyclopedias and clothing."


Use some of the suggested terms here, or start your own search.


Go to the online catalog.