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RELS 4250/6250: African American Religion (Monique Moultrie: Spring 2021): Primary Sources

Searching for Digital Collections

Many libraries and organizations are making digital materials available online. To find these collections, use this search string in Google or another search engine:

digital collection library site:.edu your keywords 

You can also try the same search limiting to site:org rather than site:edu BUT:

Be careful!

EDU = educational institution
ORG = organization, which can mean almost ANY kind of noncorporate organization. If you aren't familiar with the organization, do some research on it! Who are they? What do they promote? Are they reliable?

* * *

For more information about evaluating websites, see the Evaluating Primary Source Sites box below.

Evaluating Primary-Source Sites

Many libraries and organizations are making digital materials available online.

To find these collections, use a search string with terms relevant to your topic in Google or another search engine. For example:

digital collection library site:edu "black power"

You can also try the same search limiting to site:org rather than site:edu BUT:

Be careful!

EDU = educational institution
ORG = organization, which can mean almost ANY kind of noncorporate organization. If you aren't familiar with the organization, do some research on it! Who are they? What do they promote? Are they reliable?

* * * * * *

Questions to ask when you are assessing online primary-source collections:

  • Who is the author or creator of the page/site? Is there an institution involved? What is the name of the institution?
  • What are the credentials of the author or institution (what qualifies the author or institution to present these sources objectively? Do they represent a university? A library? An individual?)
  • Who sponsors the site? Is there information about funding?

Use Google, Wikipedia, & other sources to research the authors, organizations, or institutions responsible for the page and  its funding.

Don't just trust the About page!

  • What is the purpose of the site - To inform? To entertain? To sell you something? To argue for a certain point of view?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Are the sources cited? Where did the author(s) get the information?
  • Can the information on the page be verified with other sources? 
  • How current is the information? How recently has the website been updated?**
    (**This question may be less important for historians looking for historical primary sources.

Searching GIL and GIL-Find

Use GIL or the newer GILFind, the two versions of GSU's library catalog, to find books in our library. The catalog also lists other materials in the library - including microfilm, dissertations, movies, music and special collections.

Try using these keywords with your search to turn up primary sources:


(image from http://www.wordle.net/)

Finding Images

Zora Neale Hurston, Rochelle French, and Gabriel Brown, Eatonville, Florida

Photograph by Alan Lomax, June 1935.

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

These websites are good sources for historical images of African-Americans:

African American Newspapers

James P. Danky, ed., African-American Newspapers and Periodicals: A National Bibliography is a good starting point for identifying titles of historical African-American periodicals.

Digital Collections available at GSU

These primary-source databases are available to GSU affiliates.

If you are accessing them from off campus, you will be asked to sign in with your Campus ID and password.

Selected Freely Available Digital Collections