Not long ago, I had a debate with my teen son about the reliability of Wikipedia. As a starting point for research, it works fine — as long as you double-check the facts with other sources. For a much more reliable research experience, I suggested he try primary sources.
Whether you’re a history buff, or just looking for that perfect detail to add authenticity to your writing, primary sources are your friends. Now, thanks to the Internet, you can explore many of them without ever leaving your comfy desk chair. Here are some links that may be useful.
- The American Library Association’s guide to finding and using primary sources.
- Multiple collections at the Library of Congress.
- Primary sources available at Yale (Requires a little digging to find web exhibitions)
- Repository of Primary Sources (University of Idaho)
- A Treasury of Primary Documents pertaining to early American History
- Online exhibits at the National Archives (U.S.)
- Directory of Primary Documents from around the world.
- Websites of the Week Primary Resources (scottcclibrary.wordpress.com)
- How Wikipedia deals with competing factual claims (theverge.com)
- The gatekeepers of Wikipedia (electroniccommunication.wordpress.com)