Skip to Main Content
Ask A Librarian HoursLibrary CatalogArticle Databases RESEARCH SERVICESHELPINFORMATION FOR...

Education: Teaching with Primary Sources

Primary vs. Secondary sources

Is your source a primary source or a secondary source?  Use this chart developed by the MU Libraries.

Watch this video on the difference between primary and secondary sources.

Is a newspaper a primary or secondary source?  Watch this video to find out.

LOC Teaching blog

Loading ...

What is "Teaching with Primary Sources" or TPS?

The mission of the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program is to: build awareness of the Library’s educational initiatives; provide content that promotes the effective educational use of the Library’s resources; and offer access to and promote sustained use of the Library’s educational resources.

The Library achieves this mission through collaborations between the Library and the K-12 educational community across the United States. The program contributes to the quality of education by helping teachers use the Library’s digitized primary sources to engage students, develop their critical thinking skills and construct knowledge.

from the Stanford History Education Project (

TPS sources

Why use primary resources?

Examining primary sources gives students a powerful sense of history and the complexity of the past. Helping students analyze primary sources can also guide them toward higher-order thinking and better critical thinking and analysis skills.

The Library of Congress offers 19 millions digital items, classroom materials and professional development to help teachers effectively use primary sources from the Library's vast digital collections in their teaching.

Find Library of Congress lesson plans and more that meet Common Core standards, state content standards, and the standards of national organizations.

MU Resources

Marshall Digital Collections - - Continuously updated collections of state and local materials owned by Marshall University Libraries' Special Collections.

Virtual Museum - - The Virtual Museum contains exhibits of materials drawn mainly from Special Collections, as well as other institutions, covering a wide variety of topics and themes.

WSAZ 50 Years Ago Today - - With the click of a mouse, 50 Years Ago Today: As Seen On WSAZ-TV News will allow viewers on the Internet to watch vintage film and video of local, state and national news that occurred 50 years ago on that exact date, as written and reported by the WSAZ-TV news staff of 50 years ago.

ArtStor - - ARTstor is a digital library currently containing over one million images in the areas of art, architecture, the humanities, and social sciences with a set of tools to view, present, and manage images for research and teaching purposes. This collection chronicles artistic traditions across many times and cultures and embraces architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts, and design, and numerous other forms of visual culture.

LexisNexis - - This comprehensive database provides full-text documents from over 5,900 news, business, legal, medical, and reference publications with a variety of flexible search options.

Points of View - - Points of View Reference Center is a full-text database designed to provide students with a series of essays that present multiple sides of a current issue. This is a good source to find radio and television news transcripts.

Credo IL Visual Literacy Video