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Feeling a bit stressed out about finding "primary sources" for that paper, or anxious about visiting the archives?
It's really not that bad! Check out the resources on this page for help.
See also our web page on using primary sources.
Why can't I browse the archives or special collections?
What is a finding aid and how do I use it?
What are archives, anyway?
Find answers to these questions and more by exploring the tutorials below.
Research using primary sources
(University of Maryland)
Learn about the differences between primary and secondary sources and how to interpret different types of primary source documents.
Archival Research Tutorial
This guide on conducting archival research covers many helpful topics including doing background research, the difference between libraries and archives, and how to read a finding aid.
Archives Research Tutorial
(University of Manitoba)
This tutorial covers what students need to know to find, use, and cite primary sources in their assignments. It covers planning your research, what types of material can be found in the archives, how to handle archival records, how to integrate them into your assignment, and more.
Using archives: a practical guide for researchers
(Library and Archives Canada)
A guide introducing new users to some of the culture and customs of archives. Includes information about the difference between libraries and archives and planning a research strategy.
Archives Unboxed: a guide to understanding archives
(Archives of Ontario)
Use this guide to learn more about archives: what they are, where to find them, and how to use them. Includes many images of archival documents from the Archives of Ontario collections.
Using Manuscripts and Archives: A Tutorial
Learn more about how to find primary sources and developing search strategies, as well as general tips on what you can expect when researching in archives. This tutorial also includes information on deciphering different types of handwriting in historical documents and covers some basic concepts and terminology that archivists use.
A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology
(Society of American Archivists)
Glossary of Archival Terms
(Archives Association of British Columbia, Manual for Small Archives)