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HSTS 422: Science and Politics: Quick Start

Primary Sources: What are they?

Dear Diary

Primary sources are the raw materials of history, providing a window into the past and unfiltered access to the historical record. They are the first-hand accounts, in a range of formats, which were produced by people who lived during that period. In an archive of primary source materials, you’ll find a record of the cultural, social, economic, political, and scientific inquiries of the time.

To read more about Primary Sources, check out our Primary Sources subject guide!

Northwest Digital Archives

The Northwest Digital Archives (NWDA) is a searchable database of archives in the northwest. Some materials are digitized. Most results will be finding aids, that is, detailed descriptions of the collections held by the archives.

Search by subject, by the type of material you're looking for, or by the "repository" or institution you want to visit.

Biographical information about scientists

Browse these biographical encyclopedias & dictionaries:

Go here for more titles specific to History of Science or browse the Q140 section of the library. 

Browse these pages and try these ideas:

Finding Books

Use 1Search to find books located at OSU Libraries. While OSU is under remote instruction, OSU Libraries is purchasing and borrowing books as we can. 

Home delivery of print books, while OSU is teaching remotely for all campus courses. Yes, this means mailing of print books (when available and when we can't get as an ebook) to your home.

Tip! Use the date limits in 1Search and elsewhere to see if there are materials published during the time your are studying.

Google Books: Use the advanced search and limit by publication date, full view, and public domain to find primary sources. 

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More Journal Articles

Key Journals for History of Science: Summer 2012

You may also find additional relevant literature in these databases.


Find Scholarly Journal Articles

  • In general, start your searching with just one or two keywords. Add more as needed.
  • Be sure to try your topic in more than one database.
  • Read citations and abstracts to get ideas of different keywords to represent your topic.
  • If the full text of the article, is not available, click  to check if OSU subscribes to the journal or to place an interlibrary loan request (ILL).
    Image of the Find it @ OSU button