An important aspect of your project is research. Researching will help you decide what position to take on an issue and help you gain more information about the topic in general. Projects should contain both primary and secondary sources, but research often starts with secondary sources. Reading secondary sources will give you an idea of what to look for or where to find primary sources. Remember the questions you developed about your topic and use those as guides to help you learn more.
Not sure where to start? The websites and organizations below will help you on your path to finding sources about your topic. As you look at primary sources, use the NHDI Primary Source Analysis Worksheet to help you evaluate and understand them.
Many primary sources can be found in the William H. Smith Memorial Library. Access the digital collections, the online collection catalog, and collection guides that tell you what kinds of materials are in a collection.
The Indiana State Library provides valuable resources both in-person and online. The library website lists several online collections and databases. You can also access a large collection of books through the library system. The Indiana State Library also houses the Hoosier State Chronicle database, which is a large collection of Indiana newspapers.
If you are doing a project on an event that happened in a certain place in Indiana, perhaps there is a historical marker. The Indiana Historical Bureau provides a searchable database of all of the historical markers in Indiana. They provide the location and a picture of the marker.
For location specific information, check out the Local History Services at the Indiana Historical Society. Use the Local History Contacts to find historians in your area of the state.
For students looking for national documents, the National Archives is a great resource. The National Archives provides an online, searchable collection that provides digital images of some of the collection. This is a great resource for primary sources.
Another great national resource is the Library of Congress. Along with a large digital collection, the Library of Congress offers a variety of research aids and a large photograph collection. Don’t forget to check out Chronicling America for the Library of Congress’ database of newspapers from around the country.
Check out the Indiana page to explore more museums, historic sites and libraries who have primary and secondary sources in a wide range of topics.