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MUSC 337: Music in Social Movements
Created for Professor Melinda Russell, Spring 2020
More and more libraries and archives are making their materials accessible online. Finding these can be tricky, but here are a couple of strategies.
At the end of your google search, add the following: ("digital collection" OR "digital archive" OR "oral history") site:.edu
For example, here's a search for Apartheid. Many of the results are not for primary sources, but the likelihood of finding primary source collections goes way up this way.
Doing that same search, look at the Google Image results. Scan for results that look like digitized primary sources and see where those come from. Even if you don't see a source there that you want to use, you may find a collection that is useful to explore.
3) Watch the citations of books and articles on your topic to see what primary sources they reference and where those might be located.
Often this is an extremely effective way of finding primary source in any field. Start by finding and reading scholarship related to your research question and take careful note of the kinds of evidence those scholars used, and where they found that evidence. Then examine that evidence yourself or explore evidence from the same or a similar source.
4) Talk to your librarian! (But you knew that already)
Strategies for selecting a primary source
In general, selecting a primary source from a collection is a matter of exploration and imagination. It is very unlike finding a book or article, where those that reference the same concepts as you are generally relevant to your research. Here the two most common and effective strategies:
Identify a collection or a broad set of related items within a collection. Then browse through this group item by item to see which might be fruitful for analysis.
Read scholarship and look for the primary sources referenced in the analysis you read there.