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Research Guides

ISEM101: Facing Race: Primary sources (including digitized versions)

This guide provides tips and links to sources helpful for research about issues of race.

What is a Primary Source?

In the discipline of history Primary Sources are items that were created during the time period under study. They allow researchers to get as close to their object of study as possible in spite of the passage of time. These items might be documents, news stories, letters, diaries, interviews, artifacts, government publications, photographs, or recordings. *The definition of primary source differs in other disciplines, so check with your instructor for specific details.*

In addition to the original items, digital versions of original items or reprints of original items are also considered primary sources.

Digital Collections at Other Institutions

Search for sources and images of Native Americans in these sites.

  • Duke Collection of American Indian Oral History
    Oral histories collected from 1967-1972 from hundreds of Oklahoma Indians about all aspects of their lives.

  • FedFlix
    A repository of government movies in the public domain. Nearly 1000 video files from all aspects of U.S. history. Sponsored by the National Technical Information Service and the non-profit open government organization Public.Resource.Org

  • American Memory from the Library of Congress
    American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. It is a digital record of American history and creativity.

  • LIFE Photo Archive Hosted by Google Images from U.S. and world history from the 1750s to the 2000s.

University of Idaho Digital Collections

The Digital Collections website displays electronic versions of selected items from our Special Collections. 

Databases for Primary Sources owned by UI Library


Newspapers are considered primary sources if they contain first-hand accounts and were published at the time an event took place. Newspaper stories that occur after an event and/or contain second-hand accounts are considered primary sources.

  • Pacific Northwest Historical Newspapers Archive
    Historical newspapers from Washington, Oregon and Idaho chronicle the explosive growth of the Pacific Northwest during the 19th and 20th centuries.

  • University of Idaho Argonaut
    The library has the Argonaut on microfilm from 1898 to the present. Full-text is available online from 2000 to the present. Indexing is available for selected years.

  • The New York Times
    The New York Times website has an index that will let researchers search for articles back to the 1851. Some articles are available full-text online. The University of Idaho also has the New York Times on Microfilm.

  • Other Idaho Newspapers
    The library has microfilm reels for many other Idaho newspapers dating back more than 100 years. They are located on the second floor of the library. Indexing is not available for most newspapers, so it helps to know the date of an event when searching for information. Scrolling through issues on or around that date can lead to locating a useful article.