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Bridging the Gap Conference Resources: Primary Sources Track

This page provides access to the conference program, presentation slides, and associated resources.

Primary Sources

No matter the course level, primary sources are exceptional educational tools and invaluable historic records. These resources can be tricky to access and even trickier to critically analyze. Let’s help connect users to our materials and discuss their use in the classroom.

  • What primary sources are accessible through USU Libraries?
  • How can USU resources/materials support our high school curriculums?
  • How can we engage students in discussions about primary sources? 
  • What are some highlights from your collections you’d like to share with the community?

For contact information for presenters, search Find a Librarian via the Library website. 

Presentation 1

Exploring Government Information as Primary Sources

Jen Kirk

Despite their bland appearance, there are many ways to use government documents in instruction. Just like our favorite archival primary sources, government documents can be special too! This discussion will highlight historic government documents as primary sources and uncover areas that could benefit from primary source instruction. There is a government document relevant to all topics. The presenter will share example lesson plans, activities, and/or handouts utilized in instruction. A wealth of government documents are freely available online or to borrow from the Government Information Collection at USU Libraries.


Discussion Questions

  • What types of primary sources do you already use in your teaching?
  • How do you provide access to those sources? 
  • What topics do you highlight that would benefit from primary sources from the U.S. government?
  • How do students engage with primary sources you already share?
  • What success and difficulties do they experience? 

View or Download Presentation Slides

Presentation 2

Think Like an Archivist: An Exploration of Finding Aids Through Aggie History

Kelly Rovegno, Drew Roberson, & Heather Housley

An orientation on how to conduct and find material within SCA with a particular emphasis on University Archives/ Aggie history. It will include an introduction to finding aids and an exploration of SCA resources (Archives West, Digital Commons, & Digital Collections). The goal is to facilitate active participation with SCA resources, particularly finding aids. Ideally, participants will be asked to split into small groups (~3-4) people and given a finding aid and a corresponding university archives collection (one box at most) and given a sample question.


Discussion Questions

  • How are finding aids different from a library catalog? What are some challenges you found in navigating them?  
  • What was your approach to tackling the question?  
  • In what ways did you engage with the finding aid to answer your question?

View or Download Presentation Slides

Presentation 3

Bringing Archives to the Classroom: Teaching with Facsimiles of Primary Sources

Clint Pumphrey & Jennifer Duncan

The 2018 report by the SAA-ACRL/RBMS Joint Task Force on the Development of Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy notes, "Users who encounter primary sources gain a unique perspective on the subject they are studying, and an opportunity to learn firsthand how primary sources are used for original research." However, due to time constraints and logistical issues, it is often difficult to bring high school students to the archives to view materials in person. Digitization can allow better access to archival content, but viewing documents on a computer screen cannot replicate the tangible qualities of using historical records in the archive. A compromise is to create high quality reproductions of documents and photographs, housed in archival boxes, that students can handle without concern for preservation or security. These facsimile collections can be curated around a specific topic, providing a relevant and manageable selection of primary source materials for use in classroom settings. This session will connect archivists with educators to discuss how they use primary sources in the classroom and what topics USU's Special Collections could potentially support with facsimile collections.

Discussion Questions

  • How do educators currently use primary sources in the classroom?
  • What topics might be appropriate to teach with facsimile collections?
  • What can USU Special Collections do to facilitate such a project?

Resources at USU Libraries Special Collections & Archives

Key Digital Resources

Government Information Librarian

Profile Photo
Jen Kirk
Merril-Cazier Library, Lower Level, Room 012
(435) 797-8033