"A primary source is a document, image or artifact ... created contemporaneously with the event under discussion." (Williams, Historian's Toolbox, 2nd ed., p. 56)
Depending on your topic, it may be a diary, a letter, published memoirs and other source documents from the period of study, as well as electronic, microfilm, and printed collections of these documents published at a later date.
For more information, go to the guide, Primary Sources.
1. Search by Subject or Keyword
You can locate items by doing a keyword Boolean search and then adding one of the following special terms to your search: correspondence; diaries; early works to 1800; pamphlets; personal narratives; sources; speeches, etc. For example:
crusades and sources
jews and crusades and sources
Also browse subject headings and look for these special terms:
Church history--Middle Ages, 600-1500--Sources
Crusades First, 1096-1099--Sources
Crusades Second, 1147-1149---Sources
Crusades Third, 1189-1192--Sources
Crusades Seventh, 1248-1250--Sources
Jerusalem--History--Latin Kingdom, 1099-1244--Sources
Collections of primary sources often have the word documents, chronicles, or memoirs in the title:
document? and crusades
2. Look Up Historical Figures
If you know of a person involved in the event or from the time period, look that person;s name as a author for memoirs, diaries or correspondence. For example:
Urban II Pope
Bernard of Clairvaux Saint
Choniates Nicetas ca 1140-1213
3. Find Sources of Translation in our Collection
The Library has several volumes in the series, Crusade Texts in Translation
As well as general collections of primary sources. Selected titles include:
Chronicles of the Crusades
The Crusades: A Reader
The Crusades: Idea and Reality
Another resource to look at is the series, English Historical Documents, which is available online and in print. The most relevant for this class are the volumes:
v. 1 500-1042
v. 2 1042-1189
v. 3 1189-1327
v. 4 1327-1485
The best way to find more authoritative translations of medieval primary sources is by searching the library's catalogue, QCAT. Search by the name of the author, or, if the work either does not have an author or you are looking for a specific work by a particular author, search under the title. Once you have pulled up a list of results in QCAT, look in the "Refine My Results" column and limit the search results to English-language materials.
National archives, libraries, agencies & many other organizations publish primary source documents. A selection of sites include:
Internet History Sourcebooks Project
News, scholarship and more.
Since anyone can create a website, it is important to evaluate the credibility of a site.
One way to find a more reliable site is to search for ones created at or by educational institutions. To do this, use the Google Advanced Search option and limit your search by setting domain or site preferences. Enter .edu (U.S.), .edu.au (Australia), .ac.uk (United Kingdom) into the domain/site box and the results retrieved will only be associated with educational institutions. But even here, you will need to validate the information.