Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Finding Primary Sources

Assistance with locating primary source material within and outside the WSU Libraries.

Books as Primary Sources

Primary sources often reflect the individual perspective, experience, or viewpoint of a participant or observer. A book that was written during the time period you are researching may be considered a primary source.  Published letters, personal narratives, diaries, autobiographies, memoirs, and documents are some examples of primary sources that are commonly published in book format.

To find primary sources through Search It, the library catalog, use the "advanced search"  feature. Combine your keywords with specific subject terms, such as diaries, correspondence, interviews, etc. Using the subject option will bring back results of everything that a librarian categorized under that heading (so ALL things in the catalog classified as "letters"). If you add a keyword or Any field option, it will search within those subject results for a particular keyword, narrowing your search.

Advanced search screen in WSU Libraries Search It. "French revolution" is in quotation marks on the first line with the dropdown option of "Any field. Letters is in the second lin with the dropdown option of Subject.


Early English Books Online (EEBO) 1473-1700

Early English Books Online (EEBO) contains over 22 million digital images of virtually every work printed in the English language as well as works printed in Great Britain and its dependencies from 1473-1700 in any language. Works are drawn from these exhaustive bibliographies and collections of the period: Short-Title Catalogue I (Pollard & Redgrave, 1475 - 1640), Short-Title Catalogue II (Wing, 1641 - 1700), Thomason Tracts, a compendium of broadsides on the English Civil War printed between 1640 and 1661, and Early English Books Tract Supplements.

Digital Book Collections

WSU Libraries, PO Box 645610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5610, 509-335-9671, Contact Us