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NES 4525, JWST 4525 Palestinians in Israel (Spring 2017): Primary Sources

A guide to library research


What makes a source

Depends on the topic;
it can be complicated. 

Talk specifics with your professor.

Very basic, simplistic definition:
What is a primary source?

Useful Tips

Browse footnotes and bibliographies of books, encyclopedias, and articles for information about primary sources. 

Search the Library Catalog for primary sources--both unpublished manuscripts and modern editions in print and online, sometimes in translation, of original primary medieval sources. Use the guided keyword search with terms like:

personal narrative

Newspapers Tips

With the exception of the
collections listed here,
newspapers are generally
not available full text before 1980,
especially non-US papers.

But older newspapers are
often available on microfilm

and can be interlibrary loaned.
There will be no index and
using newspapers on microfilm
is hard, time-consuming work.

To locate newspapers on
microfilm, use  Worldcat: 

country = subject
newspaper* = keyword,
limit =
serial publications
format = microfilm. 
Do NOT specify dates.

What is Microfilm?


Fabulous archival primary source material has been filmed over the years, but using it will take some getting used to.  Ask for help with microfilm, microfiche, or microcards at a reference desk!

A sense of what it is and how you use it: Using Microfilm

Confidential Print: Middle East

Confidential print: Middle East

This digital collection covers Middle Eastern history from 1839-1969; countries included are: Afghanistan, Egypt, Sudan, Persia, Suez Canal, Turkey, Jordan, Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Syria. The series originated out of a need for the British Government to preserve all of the most important papers generated by the Foreign and Colonial Offices. Some of these were one page letters or telegrams -- others were large volumes or texts of treaties. All items marked ’Confidential Print’ were circulated to leading officials in the Foreign Office, to the Cabinet, and to heads of British missions abroad.


Cambridge Archive Editions Online:


Even more primary source collections

Official Sources

Official Collections


United States

Foreign relations of the United States: electronic facsimile. Some years may not be available. Also available through the Department of State

U.S. Congressional serial set (Online) 1817-1980 Full text of all the reports, documents, and journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Still in progress.

A century of lawmaking for a new nation: U.S. Congressional documents and debates, 1774-1873 Presents records and acts of Congress from the Journals of the Continental Congress through The Congressional Globe, which ceased publication with the Forty-second Congress in 1873.




Guide to accessing United Nations Documents at Cornell

House of Commons Parliamentary Papers (1688-to present) Full text with detailed subject indexing.

British Records on the Atlantic World Consists of 12 collections of manuscript material found in England.  Includes materials such as journals, correspondence, official records, personal papers, and printed books from over a two hundred year period, all related to British involvement in the Atlantic region, including both Africa and the Americas.  It has a wealth of information about Britain’s colonization, commercial, missionary and even literary relations with Africa and the Americas. Alongside the records of Liverpool merchants involved in the infamous Triangular Trade, there are those of slave plantation owners, of early Anglican missionaries, and of naval and customs officials.

British History Online is the digital library containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles.  Included are the House of Commons Journal and House of Lords Journal


Primary Source Periodicals 


Periodicals Index Online (formerly PCI) Covers 1770-1993. Index. The scope is international, including journals in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and other languages.

Readers' guide retrospectiveComprehensive index of the most popular general-interest periodicals published in the United States 1890 through 1982.

Internationale Bibliographie der geistes- und sozialwissenschaftlichen Zeitschriftenliteratur: IBZ. (in print in Olin Reference)  A German index of a significant proportion of the periodicals published on the European continent. 19th century.

American Periodical Series/APS online.  1740-1900. Indexes special interest and general magazines, literary and professional journals, children’s and women’s magazines. Useful for historical advertising.



Primary Source Newspapers

English Language International

The Times digital archive, 1785-2006 Full-text and full-image articles from the Times of London for the years 1785-2006.

Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports
Created by the U.S. intelligence community to benefit policy makers and analysts, FBIS Daily Reports offer foreign views and perspectives on historical events from thousands of monitored broadcasts and publications. Translated into English from more than 50 languages, these comprehensive media reports from around the globe include news, interviews, speeches and editorial commentary. This comprehensive, fully searchable edition of the FBIS Daily Reports covers such topics as political, military and social issues, economics, science and technology for eight world regions from 1941-1996.

Paper of record. Historical archive of full-page newspaper images dating from the 1700's. Included are newspapers from Australia, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom and United States of America. Many of these titles date from the early 1800s to the mid 1900s.

More international newspapers...


Selected United States

American Historical Newspapers Online

ProQuest historical newspapers. The New York Times (1851-2003), the Wall Street Journal (1889-1989), the Washington Post (1877-1990), and other major US newspapers from the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Accessible archives: primary source material from 18th and 19th century periodicals.

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers In development. Newspaper pages from 1880-1910

Poole's Plus: Indices to Nineteenth-Century Newspapers, Periodicals, Books and Government Documents 

More American newspapers...


Online Collections

Selected Primary Source Collections Online

ARTFL Full-text online of nearly 2000 French texts seventeenth to twentieth centuries.

Gallica Includes many digitized collections of primary sources originally published in the 19th century.

The March of Time
A unique and controversial newsfilm series made 1935-1967, available in a searchable online video collection.

AccuNet/AP Multimedia Archive.  Current and historical images for the last 150 years from the Association Press.

American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library Primary-source collections on American history and culture, including photographs, documents, sound recordings, and motion pictures.



Kroch Rare and Manuscript Collections
The Rare and Manuscript Division is located in an underground addition attached to Olin Library. It houses manuscripts from a variety of periods and several special collections.


Archives typically have websites with basic information and contacts if not guides to and catalogs of their collections. Major archives and repositories generally publish guides in print which often can be found through a keyword search (using the name of the archive) in the classic catalog or Worldcat.

Selected print and online guides:

Archive Finder Information about primary source materials from manuscript repositories in the United States and the UK.

National Archives and Records Administration 

British archives : a guide to archive resources in the United Kingdom. 3rd ed. (Olin Reference CD1040 .F75 1995)

Guide to Finding [Medieval] Manuscripts

Web Accessibility Assistance