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Today's Hours:

HSTY 450: History Seminar, Sheridan (Spring 2020)

Using Google to Find Primary Sources

Why use Google?

Many universities and government institutions are actively digitalizing historic materials, but it can be difficult to know where to look. Filtering through a regular Google search can be daunting when faced with results from across the globe. You can use a special strategy when searching Google to find materials from institutions digitizing materials! This strategy also works well for finding background information on a topic, as many cultural institutions write blog posts or introductions to historic events.

The Site: Command

What it does: The site command brings you search results from the site or domain you search. Using this command you can search only within .edu or .gov domains. You can also use it to search the Library of Congress's site,

Examples: site:edu or

Notes: Be careful if searching for Not all websites that end in .edu are universities or other educational institutions, the domain can be used by anyone.

Example Searches

fugitive slave act --> This search will find anything about the fugitive slave act on the Library of Congress website

Anthony Burns site:edu or site:gov --> This search will find anything about Anthony Burns on websites with the .edu or .gov domain

Boston Public Library eCard

The Boston Public Library offers resources beyond just secondary resources! Many of the BPL resources also include primary sources.

If you want help identifying a resource that includes primary sources, contact your librarian, Hedda Monaghan at 

Selected Web Resources for Primary Source Research