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CYBERBEE: Everyday Artifacts

By Linda C. Joseph - Posted Sep 1, 2006
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What do tombstones, driver's licenses, and a sound recording have in common? They are primary sources. In an Information Age, students have more access to primary source material than any previous generation. A primary source can be current or historical. It might include newspaper stories, motion pictures, sound recordings, documents, photographs, posters, diaries, sheet music, articles of clothing, and other artifacts that were created at the time of an event or through an eyewitness account. The Internet provides portals to many digitized materials such as historical centers, libraries, museums, and private collections that provide virtual access.

Many of the artifacts on the Internet are in raw format without any supporting information. Since these primary sources are fragmentary, it is important to give students interrogation techniques where they ask questions and create understandings based on their own prior knowledge. There are a variety of suggestions and links under Lessons that will assist you in planning activities in your classroom. Some examples of where you can find primary sources on the Web are described in this article. These are only a few of the hundreds available, so be sure to check out the hotlist of Primary Source Materials & Document Based Questions compiled by Paula Goldstein [].

Selected Primary Source Collections


This article is available in its entirety in a variety of formats — Preview, Full Text, Text+Graphics, and Page Image PDF — on a pay-per-view basis, courtesy of ITI's InfoCentral. CLICK HERE.

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