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HIST 392: Palestinian-Israeli Conflict (Bazzaz): Primary Sources

Spring 2024

Working with Primary Sources

  • Be thoughtful about your search terms. Think of the language of the period -- including special formatting or other 'quirks.' Think also about specific names of people and organizations. 
  • Use the tools built into each database. Many primary resources can be browsed (or in the case of online tools, searched) by publication date, or by geographic location. 
  • Note the order of your results. Some primary source databases default to sorting by date. In some cases, sorting by relevance may be more helpful. 
  • Don't just search -- browse. In addition to reading articles that come up in your search results, spend some time looking over pages of newspapers to see what other articles are covering from the time period.  By looking beyond a single article, you'll learn about other issues from the time period and possibly see Letters to the Editors and advertisements which can provide historical context. 
  • Start early. It can be more difficult to find relevant primary sources. There may be valuable sources which you will want to request from other libraries. You may also need more time to decipher, digest, and interpret the content of your primary sources. Leave yourself plenty of time, pace yourself, and ask questions or for assistance earlier rather than later.

Use the resources in this box to assist you in analyzing primary sources for your research. 

Collections of Primary Sources

Newspapers & Periodicals:

For even more options, visit:

British Newspapers: 

Other Newspapers & Periodicals:

Pamphlets, Correspondence, etc. 

Government & Diplomatic Documents:

United Nations Records:

U.S. Records:

Images & Multimedia:

Books (incl. Memoirs & Travel Accounts):


In the Library:

You can find many kinds of primary sources in the library. This could include writings published during the relevant time period as well as editions of primary accounts/documents that were re-published later. 

When using CrossSearch, you can check the Catalog box on the left navigation bar to only search for items in the library catalog, then use the date slider to look at publication dates in your time period. 

Remember to watch your keywords -- a book written in the early 20th century will use different vocabulary to talk about various historical events.

Keyword tips for finding primary sources in Dinand: 

  • Try the name of a specific region (including names they might have been known by in the past). 
  • Things of words related to the kind of source you're seeking. For example, terms such as voyagetraveljourney are examples of words that appear often in titles of travel accounts.
  • All books in the catalog are labeled with a kind of tag, called subject headings, that tells you what the book is about and brings together all the books on similar topics.  You can use these tags by clicking on them or by using them as keyword inspiration. 

Misc. Web Archives:

Web Search Strategies: 
Google Site Search is an invaluable tool for locating sources on the web which may be scattered across disparate websites. For example: 
  • site:*.gov "British mandate" Palestine will search for references to Palestine and the British mandate on US government websites. 
  • site:*.org "British mandate" Palestine will search the same on .org (non-profit) websites, which will hit many libraries, museums and other cultural heritage institutions (as well as some advocacy organizations, so read critically for bias);
  • site:*.edu "British mandate" Palestine will conduct the search across educational websites. 
It's also a great way to pick up sites on domains from other countries. For example: 
  • UK: 
    • site:*.ukAll British websites
    • site:*.ac.ukBritish academic websites
    • site:* British government websites 

Yishuv Sources:

In addition to books in the HC Libraries, consider browsing...