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Teaching with Primary Sources Workshop


In this workshop, you will:

  • Discover digital primary sources available in different disciplines. Find newspapers, documents, photographs, letters, maps, and much more!
  • Learn about approaches, activities, and assignments for teaching with primary sources.

Why teach with primary sources

Digitized primary sources

What are digitized primary sources?

Some primary sources found in libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions have been digitized. There are still many more primary sources only available in physical formats.

What types of primary sources are available in digital collections?

All types!

Where can you find digitized primary sources?

Special Collections

The University of Arizona Libraries Special Collections provides primary research materials encompassing eight collecting areas: Arizona & the Southwest, Arizona Queer Archives, US-Mexico Borderlands, Literature, Political Affairs, Performing Arts, History of Science, and University of Arizona History.

Other local repositories:

Teaching with primary sources

Liaison librarians and archivists can collaborate with you on teaching with primary sources!  

  • Consult about what materials are available in our collections (both physical and digital), as well as help you identify other open source digitized primary source collections. 
  • Create research assignments that engage students with primary sources.
  • Provide library research instruction.
  • Prepare course guides that incorporate primary sources. 

Collaborating with Special Collections

  • Contact Special Collections as soon as possible. More time to plan allows for better sessions with students.
  • Build relationships with staff who may align with your teaching or research areas
  • Think about integrating Special Collections into multiple class sessions
  • What skills do you want students to learn by visiting Special Collections?
    • Primary source introductions
    • Archival literacy sessions
    • Specific course research
  • Special Collections instruction request form

There are some openly-available document analysis tools available that you can use and adapt for your teaching: