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Primary sources — Now at your fingertips

going-to-the-sourcesWhen you hear the phrase “primary source,” do you imagine dusty archives and special collections shelves? In fact, primary sources are available in all types of collections and formats. Widespread digitization projects have made access to primary sources easier in more than one way: Not only are many primary sources accessible anytime and anywhere on the Web or through the library online collections, but their content can now be viewed much faster through simple keyword searches.

In the past, a scholar had to spend many hours sifting  through page after page of a single source. Today, you can quickly search and find key words of interest in the text of multiple sources with comparatively little effort.

What is a primary source? The Falvey research guide on primary sources states that “Primary sources come in a wide variety of formats, but they all have one thing in common: they are original, unfiltered materials from a specific time period or event.”

Falvey has a wide variety of primary sources in its digital collections and outstanding print collections. Find out more from the History & Sociology blog.

Questions? Ask us!

By Jutta Seibert and Jacqueline Mirabile


Feedback Friday: What does “Home! Sweet Home!” mean to you?

home_sweet_home_-_project_gutenberg_etext_215661According to L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, “No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.” The holidays are right around the corner and almost everyone is thinking about going home. Whether you’re taking a plane, train or automobile, it won’t be long before you’re walking through that familiar front door. What do you look forward to most when you think of home?

Share your “going home” story. Tell us in the Comments!

Image of sheet music for “Home! Sweet Home!” words by H.R. Bishop, courtesy of Project Gutenberg


Jessica Lu and Daniel Love: Celebrating Our Student Workers

Falvey Memorial Library continues to recognize its dedicated student workers with the second installment of “Celebrating Library Student Workers.” This month we feature juniors Jessica Lu and Daniel Love, who assist the Circulation staff by helping patrons, checking books, videos and laptop computers in and out, and assigning study rooms. Also, Jessica reshelves books while Daniel works for Interlibrary Loan. (more…)


Christmas in Special Collections 2009: Sacred and Secular

From Christmas Wayfarers. Dublin: at the Signot the Three Candles, (19--?).

From O'Byrne, Cathal. Christmas Wayfarers. Dublin: at the Sign of the Three Candles, (19--?).

Lost your Christmas spirit in the end of semester chaos? Come to the second floor of Falvey and visit the “Christmas in Special Collections” exhibit curated by Special Collections librarian Bente Polites. The books in this display vary in subject and size, from very large beautifully illustrated religious tomes to small works, some with colored illustrations, some with black and white. Not all of the books in the exhibit are religious; the display also includes a number of secular works.

On display are large facsimiles of illuminated manuscripts: the Gutenberg Bible, Book of Kells (original c.775-800) and Lindisfarne Gospels (original c.698-721). Among the other religious books featured are the Missale Romanum, printed in 1773, and modern copies of the Hours of Catherine of Cleves; Belles Heures of Jean, Duke of Berry, Prince of France; Très Riches Heures of Jean, Duke of Berry; and the Prayer Book of Michelino da Besozzo. (more…)


Graphic Novels Event: Archie, Apartheid and Angst

(l. to r.) Brian A. Lynch, Jonathan Maberry, Mary Beth Simmons, Matt Phelan

(l. to r.) Brian A. Lynch, Jonathan Maberry, Mary Beth Simmons, Matt Phelan

One might not think of Philadelphia as lacking in racial diversity and yet panelist Jonathan Maberry described his experience growing up in the Kensington section as “isolated from diversity.” In fact, it was a comic book series, Fantastic Four, which first opened his eyes to South African apartheid.

Maberry, a Bram Stoker Award winner and Marvel Comics writer, was one of four panelists at the Nov. 11 “Comics Go To College” event at Falvey Memorial Library. They were there to discuss the ways in which graphic novels and comic books are viewed by academia, publishers, writers, illustrators and readers.

The panelists shared the pivotal moments when they discovered their fascination with graphic novels and comics. Matt Phelan, a children’s book illustrator and recently published graphic novelist, recounted for the group his approach to writing his first graphic novel, The Storm in the Barn. His was a process of trial and error that began with the “three worst pages of prose” ever written and resulted in an award-winning graphic novel. (more…)



Last Modified: December 1, 2009