Using Primary Sources: Hands-On Instructional Exercises, 1st Edition

  • Editor: Anne Bahde, Heather Smedberg, Mattie Taormina
  • Published By: Libraries Unlimited
  • ISBN-10: 161069435X
  • ISBN-13: 9781610694353
  • DDC: 001.4
  • Grade Level Range: 9th Grade - 12th Grade
  • 190 Pages | eBook
  • Original Copyright 2014 | Published/Released December 2014
  • This publication's content originally published in print form: 2014

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Special collections librarians and archivists in academic settings are often confronted with the challenge of teaching classes outside their personal area of expertise, with very little notice or guidance-as the authors of this book can attest. Using Primary Sources: Hands-On Instructional Exercises features 30 adaptable, hands-on exercises that special collections librarians, archivists, museum professionals, and teaching faculty can use in a multitude of instructional situations with K-12, undergraduate, graduate, and library school students. The exercises teach lessons in both archival intelligence-such as building skills in using finding aids and locating primary sources-and artifactual literacy, such as building skills in interpretation and analysis of primary sources. Each exercise includes sections for audience, subject area, and materials used so that instructors can find customizable, easy-to-follow "recipes" to use regardless of personal experience and expertise. In addition, this consultable reference resource includes a bibliography of readings related to instruction in special collections, archives, and museum environments.



  • Anne Bahde
  • Heather Smedberg
  • Mattie Taormina

Table of Contents

Front Cover.
Half Title Page.
Title Page.
Copyright Page.
1: Classic Exercises with a Twist.
2: Windows to the Past: Postcards and Visual Literacy.
3: Approaching the Book as an Artifact.
4: Our School Song: Using Sound Recordings and Sheet Music to Explore Historical Music.
5: Start to Finish: Learning the Primary Source Research Process in 50 Minutes.
6: Infinitely Adaptable: Using Objects to Promote Inquiry-Based Learning.
7: Peer Learning with Primary Sources.
8: Working Backward: Starting with an Endnote to Teach Primary Source Research Skills.
9: Taking It Further.
10: Taking Sides: Using Debate to Understand Evidence and Bias in Primary Sources.
11: Match Game: Pairing Primary Sources to Potential Research Topics.
12: Shopping for the Medici: Student Collectors and Authentic Use.
13: The Big and the Small of It: Engaging Large Groups with Hands-On Details.
14: Quick Curation: Building Analytical Skills through Context and Juxtaposition.
15: History Sleuths.
16: Reaching Back, Reaching Out: Illuminated Manuscripts for K–8 Students.
17: Exploring Personal Experience through Diaries and Memoirs.
18: The Ice House Mystery: Pairing Primary and Secondary Sources to Teach Place-Based Research.
19: Finding Hidden Personal Stories in Legal and Financial Records.
20: The Dating Game.
21: Prioritizing Privacy vs. Access: Primary Sources in the Digital Age.
22: Book Illustration and Cultural Change: Reading Visual Images in Context.
23: Picturing the Past: Introducing Special Collections Research through Photographs.
24: Finding Fun with Finding Aids.
25: Deconstructing Description: Teaching Archival Literacy through Finding Aids.
26: Printing ABCs: A Hands-On Printmaking Activity for Children.
27: Covered with Culture: Finding Meaning on a Stick.
28: Searching for Primary Sources: An Introduction to Using Special Collections Discovery Tools.
29: Building Books and Breaking Them Down: Using Historic Materials to Teach Modern Preservation.
30: Exploring Artists’ Books.
31: Engage Those Senses! Surrogates Are Not Enough.
32: Judging a Book by Its Cover.
Conclusion: Silences in the Archives: Moving Forward with Assessment.
About the Editors and Contributors.