Navigating to Find Primary Sources Transcript

How I find primary sources in World History Commons—there's a couple of different options— so I'll start. If we navigate to World History Commons in the upper right hand corner there's four different links: (1) sources, (2) teaching, (3) methods, and (4) reviews. And I'll start with sources because this is oftentimes the fastest way. So, I'll click on sources and then it will bring me to a landing page. Now the order of the items is not indicative of importance, it is largely just how they were input into the database but along the left-hand side we'll have a series of filters and there I can choose what I'm looking for. So, let's say I'm looking for something in the Middle East and that's my region and in the time period I'd like something that is modern between 1800 CE and 1950. And so as a subject I'm going to choose gender. So I've got Middle East, modern, and gender. Then I click apply and it'll bring up a number of different sources that it has. Now in this particular instance it doesn't bring up anything—which you think is a problem, but here's the key: often when we look at this in terms of the availability of sources this is not as big a source base as say the British Museum. What it does mean is that sometimes we will have to be a little creative in the way in which we frame some of our searches. So, instead of using gender I use family life as my subject matter. Then, I get a source called "Fundraising for Palestinian Families in Jerusalem," and this source is from 1936. So, oftentimes you may come up with a filter or search which doesn't yield the results that you want. Sometimes what that requires is just thinking a little bit more creatively about how you're structuring your search because there may be excellent beautiful things that you need, that are there that you want and that you're able to find, but you just need to be a little creative. So, one way is just going right to the sources. Another way is to use teaching, methods, and reviews. And these are all secondary sources. There they can be modules long or short. They can be lessons on how to teach a particular topic. For example, analyzing newspapers under the methods section. Or they can be reviews by history teachers of websites and all of them have primary sources at the end of them. But you start by looking at the secondary source and then if it works for what you're looking for say I'm looking under teaching and there's a long teaching module on masculinity and femininity in the Mongol Empire that works for me. I can click through to that and then I can see some other sources. So, the third way in addition to directly clicking on sources or going through teaching methods or reviews, the third way that I use to find primary sources is simply to go to the search bar and here it's going to find every word that I stick in. And so oftentimes I will combine the keywords that I know from the source filters. So, if I know a period is called early modern I will type in quotation marks "early modern" and then I will type in the word that I want. Say I'm looking at water history I'll type in quotation marks "early modern" and then I'll type in quotation marks "water" and by using quotation marks I will be able to get kind of a needle in a haystack. You'll be able to find some just fantastic stuff by using the filter terms that are under sources as keywords in quotation marks. And that's how I find primary sources on World History Commons.