Library:Guide to Finding Primary Sources/Humanities

From UBC Wiki


In the humanities, a primary source could be defined as something that was created either during the time period being studied or afterward by individuals reflecting on their involvement in the events of that time.

Formats of Primary Sources

  • Personal records or documents: diaries, journals, letters, manuscripts, speeches, emails, blog posts, and papers
  • Autobiographies and memoirs
  • Government documents and records, proceedings & meeting minutes, internal memos
  • Published materials: books, magazine and journal articles, reports, blog posts, wiki entries, newspaper articles written at the time
  • Visual Materials/Creative Works: photographs, paintings, sculptures, films, video recordings, plays, scripts
  • Artifacts: physical objects from that time, such as clothes, furniture, toys, and buildings

Finding Primary Sources in the Library Catalogue

Try a keyword search in the library catalogue combining your subject with words that identify a particular genre:

  • correspondence, letters, papers
  • diaries, journals, manuscripts
  • personal narratives, oral histories
  • interviews, transcripts
  • sources
  • travel writing, travelogue

Finding Primary Sources in the Humanities

Each discipline taught at UBC is represented by a Library Research guide. The guides describe and link to the best sources for your research - including collections which contain significant numbers of primary sources in the Humanities. Click the "Arts & Humanities" link to bring up the research guides for these topic areas.