Turning Points in History: - Manatee School for the Arts

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Transcript Turning Points in History: - Manatee School for the Arts

And Research Projects Dealing
With Credible Sources
Primary Sources: When dealing with historical
topics, the primary source is the one written
nearest to the event or recorded by a person who
was a witness to it. Books, newspapers or
magazine articles written at the time would be
primary sources, as would oral histories, diaries,
letters, business documents, and personal
Secondary Sources: These are books,
documentaries, lectures, speeches, journal
articles in peer-reviewed journals, encyclopedias,
almanacs, any number of works that are about
that subject or deal with it in some fashion.
A copy of a primary source in digital or print
format still makes it a primary source. For
instance, you wouldn’t have to access the
original copy of the Constitution in the
National Archives. Any faithful print or
digitized copy would still be a primary
The Annals of America is a set of books
arranged by date order that has copies of
letters, documents, and other primary
sources that deal with American history. We
have a set in this library.
Not everything in print or on the Internet is a reliable or useful source of information.
When trying to evaluate a source, there are several things to consider:
Authority: Does the article appear in a “peer reviewed” journal? Scholarly journals
have every published article go through a process in which the editor decides
whether an article looks promising or not and sends it on to a panel of experts and
specialists to let him/her know whether they think it’s worth publishing. It has
undergone rigorous academic scrutiny before it’s published.
Checking the authority of Internet sources is more difficult. Few are authoritative.
Online articles are often self-published. Look for any statement about the editors or
author responsible for the site. It could be on the 1st page or in the “about us”
section. Do the editors or does the author have Ph.D. after their name? Is the site
sponsored by a reputable organization, such as the American Cancer Society? Does
it have an advisory board? Look for an editorial policy. Look at contributors’
Accuracy and Verifiability. Check to see if a work or site’s sources are available so
they can be verified. There should be a Works Cited or a bibliography in the back of
the work that cites their sources. Look at the titles to see the breadth of the sources
to gauge the author’s knowledge of the subject and to see if some bias is involved.
If you find that the sources are mainly popular sources, or if the sources are
ideologically slanted, you have to conclude that isn’t an a reliable source.
Currency. The date of a publication matters. It could be out-of-date. A quick look
at the copyright date will give you a clue. Some of the articles you can get on the
databases are older than I would suspect. No so very long ago, the oldest articles
that were commonly found on your best known databases didn’t go back much
before 1987. Recently, I found a lit article that went back to 1964. In the field of
literature, you don’t have the sort of currency issues you have in science and history.
Judging currency on the Internet is more of a problem.
A periodical is any publication that is published on a regular
schedule—daily, weekly, monthly, bi-weekly, bi-monthly,
quarterly, semi-annually. It could be a peer-reviewed
journal, a newspaper, a magazine, a literary journal, an
organizational newsletter or magazine, or a publication that
is produced regularly by a museum or historical society.
Every year, a periodical stops printing their publication and puts it
on the Internet because of cost and dwindling subscriptions.
That means they have to make their money on their online
editions. Each one has a different way of handling it.
The New York Times, for instance, offers regular subscriptions,
which can be expensive unless it’s in combination with a print
subscription. They have free subscriptions, but they will let you
see only 20 articles a month. After that you can only access
abstracts. Archival articles are free if they’re part of the public
domain—published before 1928. On the other hand The
Washington (DC) Post is free and seems open to see full text
articles but does charge for the archives, which is run by ProQuest.
Each one is different, and you’ll have to try them to see what you
can get for free.
This is a photo of the
original telegram found on
the Library of Congress
site. It is a primary
www.loc.gov Library of Congress site
American Memories , Historical Newspapers, Prints and
Photographs, and much more.
The National Archives. Site
Photographs, records (military, congressional, etc), historical
http://cdl.library.edu/moa The Making of America at Cornell
American magazines and journals from 1845-1900.
www.besthistorywebsites.net Best History Websites
Mainly for teachers but has a lot of links to solid websites. Put
together by a history teacher.
www.ipl.org – Internet Public Library
This is a gold mine of information of all types. Type in your
subject in the box on the first page for specific searches. You
can use the menu to find specific sources, such as dictionaries,
translators, all sorts of stuff.
www.holocaust-history.org - Holocaust History Project
Lots of essays and some primary sources available on here about
the Holocaust. I did a search on Kristallnacht, and they had not
only questions and essays but links to a host of sites on the web
about the Holocaust
www.time.com/time - Time Magazine
There is an archive that goes back to 1924. Appears to be free for
full-text archival articles—even for non-subscribers.
www.nytimes.com – New York Times
www.washingtonpost.com – Washington (DC) Post
www.tampabay.com – Tampabay Times (considered one of the top
10 newspapers in the country)
Statistical Briefs of the Census
http://stats.bls.gov – US Bureau of Labor Stats
http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov Bureau of Justice Stats
www.fedstats.gov – US Federal Stats
Advertising is dependent upon demographics. An
example of some stats they have is on the next
slide ⇒
On the
Ad Age
of Labor
in 2010
Secondary sources include encyclopedias,
almanacs, Statistical Abstracts, books on the
subject. Essays and articles about the subject.
We have a lot of books in the library that have
primary sources within their covers.
Two places to look, if working on an historical
topic is in the 900 section, which is history &
geography, and in the 300 section, which
includes social issues, such as climate change,
gun control, slavery, immigration, labor
movements, and more.
Good Luck!