New Primary Sources Guide. Primary Sources Materials Books     Serials     Government Documents     Manuscripts & Archives    Maps    Dissertations    Visual Materials    Music
Data files     Realia

BOOKS AS PRIMARY SOURCES

The word "book" can refer to two things.

(1) "Book" can refer to a bibliographic entity printed and published at a particular time and place and as such, potentially reflective of the society, culture, historical period, or other circumstances under which it was created.

EXAMPLES:

(2) "Book" can also refer colloquially to the physical format of material -- a bound volume -- whose contents derive from manuscript or early printed originals. Here, "book" refers to the nature of the physical container, rather than to the nature of its contents.  In this context, "books" can be facsimiles or printed transcriptions of original documents:

EXAMPLES:

"Books" can also be collections of such transcriptions:

EXAMPLES:

The ways in which one searches for these two types of "books" differs.

BOOKS PUBLISHED CONTEMPORANEOUSLY WITH THE EVENT

To identify books contemporaneously published, use one of the following types of bibliographies:

For more information on these types of bibliographies, specific to a particular country and time period, see Bibliographic tools for research in history.

FACSIMILES OR VERBATIM TRANSCRIPTIONS OF ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS:  SELECTED SUBJECTS

To search for facsimiles or verbatim transcriptions of original documents, search Orbis by Subject:

COMPILATIONS OR COLLECTIONS OF MANUSCRIPTS OR EARLY PRINTED DOCUMENTS:  SELECTED SUBJECTS

To search for compilations or collections of manuscripts or early printed documents, search Orbis by Subject:


Acknowledgement

This material is based on the Web site created to support a series of colloquia in historical research offered by the Yale University Library. The initial site was prepared in August 1996 by Suzanne Lorimer, Susanne Roberts, Margaret Powell, George Miles, Fred Musto, Emily Horning, Cesar Rodriguez, Nancy Godleski, Richard Williams, Elizabeth Pauk, and Martha Brogan.

Back to Researching a Topic in Four Easy Steps
Send comments to Instruction Group