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History 314: War and Society in Premodern Europe: Primary Sources

Tracing Indirect References

     Articles in subject encyclopedias often reference primary sources in the main body of the entry, but the full citation to the source may not be provided.  Consider, for example, an excerpt from the entry on "Women" in The Crusades: An Encyclopedia (Ed. Alan V. Murray):

     "In the early thirteenth century, the Cistercian monk Thomas of Froidmont composed an elegy for his elder sister, Margaret of Beverley, celebrating her adventures on crusade. She reputedly fought at the siege of Jerusalem in 1187 wearing a cooking pot on her head..." (1286).

     In this case, we know that the author is Thomas of Froidmont, that the subject is Margaret of Beverley, and that the relevant time period is around 1187, when Saladin retook Jerusalem.

     We can plug some of this information into a Primo search:

We thus discover that this primary source has been translated and is available in an anthology of primary sources related to the Crusades:

Using Library of Congress Subject Headings

Books in Primo are assigned Library of Congress Subject Headings.  In many ways, subject headings are a form of tagging, in that they represent the content of the material and provide ways for you to efficiently locate more materials that are conceptually related. 

Library of Congress Subject Headings are also quite useful for discovering primary sources. The following subheadings usually are added to indicate that the material is a pri
mary source: sources, personal narratives, correspondence, diaries, manuscripts, or notebooks.  Once you've discovered a good subject heading for secondary sources, try adding one of the primary source subheadings to see what you find.  Here are the steps:

  1. Find a monograph on your topic in Primo:

    Pegg, Mark Gregory. A Most Holy War The Albigensian Crusade and the Battle for Christendom. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
  2. Identify the Library of Congress Subject Headings for this book by clicking on "Item Details" in the catalog record:

    Subjects: Albigenses; Heresies, Christian;
  3. Try adding various subheadings to these subject headings:

Secondary source subject heading:  Albigenses
Primary source subject heading:   Albigenses -- sources


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"Hidden" Primary Sources

These primary source collections aren't really hidden, of course, but you might not initially think to search here!