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Finding Primary Sources

There are many types of primary sources, including manuscripts, diaries, court cases, maps, data sets, experiment results, news stories, polls or original research. Here you'll find suggestions for locating these at the Northwestern Libraries.

Define your parameters

You can narrow your search by:

  • Discipline (e.g. art, history, physics, political science)
  • Format (e.g. book, manuscript, map, photograph)
  • Type of information you need (e.g. numerical data, images, polls, government reports, letters)
  • Date range

Use search tools

The NUsearch advanced search option can locate some primary source material in our collection.  With "Subject" selected from the dropdown- menu enter the format, information type or date range (such as "Roosevelt Eleanor 1884-1962 Diaries" or "Chicago Ill Maps") into the search box. 

Check the Libraries' subject guides in your subject area for primary source databases. Some selected guides that include such databases are listed below: 

Use our archival collections

The Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections and University Archives owns personal papers, letters, business files and other primary resources. Visit the collections in person or online to access these resources.