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HSTR120: History of Human Rights

This guide will help you meet the research requirements of HSTR120: History of Human Rights.

Your Primary Source Worksheet Assignment

These slides describe your assignment and the criteria on which they'll be evaluated. 

Your assignment (some tips)

Some general advice: 

  • Find primary sources in your secondary sources, either as footnotes/citations or mentioned in the historical narrative.
  • Do enough pre-reading or research to know the key people, places and events and something of the context of your topic. 
  • Google may turn up some helpful stuff, but don't exclude other sources - subscriptions, libraries, museums, books in print and more can provide a wealth of sources that Google may miss.  
  • For all kinds of types, if you feel they may be found in books, start with UVic's book catalogue, then use to find books that UVic doesn't own. You can interlibrary loan these. Also use to find books that are out of copyright and have been digitized.

Best sources for specific kinds of primary sources:

Kind of source  Tips and sources                                                                                           

1. Unpublished Manuscript Collection of Documents from Era

 Use a union catalogue or national archives catalogue to find unique items and collections within Archives.

2.Memoir, Interview or Autobiography

Within UVic's Library catalogue: use topic plus "recollections" "interview" or "autobiography"  

Within UVic Library Catalogue: Use subject's name and search type "author keyword" 

3. Personal letters from era

 Within UVic's Library catalogue: use topic or name plus "letters" or "sources"


4. Newspaper Articles from Era See Newspaper Subject Guide which includes links to searchable digitized newspapers, google news archive, and a list of newspapers available on microfilm.  You wil need a date or date range to start with. 
5. Magazine or journal article from era See Newspaper Subject Guide for a list of popular magazines held at UVic Libraries, plus links to full text options found online.  
6. Book from Era UVic's Library catalogue, Worldcat or Internet Archive,  use publication date limiters.  
7. Treatise (medical, legal, intellectual) from era Look for these published in books (contemporary or later) or in archival collections. 
8. Sermon, record of a religious organization from era See Archival union lists, look for collections published by the author/speaker, or find sermons printed in newspapers or as individual documents.  
9. Law, statute, edict from Era

See Government Publications subject guides to find current and historical laws and other government documents.  These are always organized by jurisdiction.  We subscribe to some historical collections, and the current collections (laws in force) will cite their predecessors, if any. 

10. Record of Government/International Agency from Era

See Government Publications subject guides.

See Intergovernmental Publications subject guide, for IGO databases, documents and online libraries.  

11. Photograph from Era

Find in newspapers and magazines from the era.

Use Google Images but follow the image back to its home location, to view, assess,  and cite it from there.

Use History of the World in Photographs (book and CDRom). 

Search archival union catalogues - many have 'image' limiter or special photograph collections.

12. Speech from Era

Find printed in newspapers and magazines.

Search in book catalogues, use speaker and "speeches" to find collected works or pamphlet versions. 

13. Audio Recording from Era Search in book catalogues, on Internet Archive, or within National Archives' collections.  
14.Video Recording from Era Search in book catalogues, on Internet Archive, or within National Archives' collections.  
15. Fiction from Era Search in book catalogues, use publication date limiters and keyword "fiction"
16. Poems or song lyrics from era Find inside books (scores or sheet music are catalogued like books), or within newspapers and magazines of the era. 
17. Painting, Portrait, Illustration from Era 

Use ArtStor, CAMIO, Index of Christian Art or other image repositories (citation will need to include database and source institution). 

Use Google Images but follow the image back to its home location, to view, assess,  and cite it from there.

18. Movie/Video from Era

Use book catalogues, as libraries catalogue their films alongside their books.

Try Internet Archive's historical film collections.

19. Building, statue, monument from era or as commemoration

Google, Google Maps, or Google Images.

See if the library has a directory of monuments or historical sites (books). 

Find reference to their raising or dedications in Newspaper articles. 

Historical mapping digital projects, such as the Early Modern Map of London will show monuments and public artworks, as will current or contemporary city maps. 

This table illustrates that there are many ways and sources to find primary sources, regardless of topic or era, but I hope it provides starting places and some clues to help you on your way.

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