While you have become accustomed to using books, articles, and other secondary and tertiary sources for your research assignments, professional researchers also study primary sources located in archives, museums, special collections, and other cultural repositories. Today, you will have an opportunity to learn more about political, social, and economic movements in the United States. In addition to viewing digitized materials, you will also learn how to search for resources held by cultural repositories around the world.
You will be assigned one political, social, or economic movement to research, including the following:
1. Communist Party of America (or communist movements more broadly)
2. Black Liberation Army
3. Socialist Party of America
4. Industrial Workers of the World/IWW (or labor movements more broadly)
5. Youth International Party
6. Black Panther Party
7. Weather Underground/Weathermen
While you will be working in small groups during this session, each member of your group is expected to complete each step of the assignment.
Don’t know where to start your search for a cultural repository that covers your topic? With so many cultural repositories at your fingertips, you might feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, there are some websites that can help researchers discover primary resources held by cultural repositories, such as Archives Grid.
Just like libraries, some cultural repositories use catalogs to help researchers discover materials in their collections. However, many archival and special collections use other means to make their resources accessible. In this section, you will explore how finding aids are used by the Labadie Collection at the University of Michigan to help researchers find useful materials.
In some instances, you might find that a cultural repository has digitized their collections for the public to view. For the remainder of this assignment you will be looking at two digitized collections, one that is publicly available and one that is sold to libraries for researchers to use: