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HIS 309 History of U.S. Science and Technology: Library Home Page & Types of Sources

This LibGuide was designed to help with research for this class that explores the various ways in which Americans have encountered, developed, and experienced science and technology from the colonial period to the present using various lenses - politics,

Murphy Home Page

Contact me with any questions!

Teri Holford



Above is an image of the library homepage with three yellow arrows indicating the important places to go for this assignment:

The top arrow indicates that by clicking on the menu bar next to "Search@UW" you can refine your search by only searching through the following subsets: 


The left arrow indicates how to find this guide by clicking on Course Guides Fall 2019


The right arrow indicates how to find any database by its database name from the A-Z list of all library databases. Four database names to remember for this assignment are America: History and Life, History Reference Center, JSTOR, Project Muse.

Tertiary Sources


Tertiary Sources: These sources are simply compiled lists and very short articles written by experts in the field that also include pointers to other secondary and primary sources that the researcher can pursue.

They are also called Reference Sources because the researcher refers to them to quickly learn about a subject, and are often the first step a researcher takes. They take the form of encyclopedias, dictionaries, guides, finding aids, indexes, textbooks, databases, fact books, etc. Physical formats of tertiary sources are usually separated from other books in any library into their own area, often called the Reference Collection. 

Physical books in any university library are classified using the Library of Congress ClassificationYou can find a poster version of this helpful system throughout the library to refer to when searching for a subject's classification. 

Secondary Sources



Secondary Sources: These are sources that use primary evidence by researchers, writers, experts or other non-participants of an event, and who interpret or analyze an event or events in the same of presenting a perspective or argument. 

Often called scholarly sources in higher education, they take the form of articles, books, biographies, commentaries, etc. 

They can be found in many places: libraries, websites, physical journals, digitized journals, etc. 

Primary Sources



Primary Sources: These original materials are the base evidence for all historians. Created by participants or witnesses of an event, they serve as direct evidence that have not been analyzed, interpreted or filtered by researchers. 

They take many forms, depending on the discipline, and include manuals, manuscripts, letters, documents, newspapers, speeches, photos, paintings, scientific experiments, diaries, speeches, maps, meeting minutes, business papers, public records, oral interviews, etc. 

Primary sources do not have to be old, they just have to be direct evidence of an event that may have happened 1000 years ago, last year, or even yesterday. They can be found in many places (libraries, attics, your house, databases, websites) and many have been digitized for greater access.