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Finding and Using Primary Sources: Multimedia

A guide on defining, finding, and using primary resources in your research


Video and Performing Arts

American History in Video
People who witness notable historic moments, either in real time or on film, remember forever how they felt at the time. Who can forget the shock of seeing the helicopter pushed off the USS Blue Ridge carrier at the Fall of Saigon in 1975, or the thrill of watching Neil Armstrong taking his first step onto the moon’s surface? Now you can experience these and tens of thousands of other historical moments in the same visceral way, with American History in Video.

Latin America in Video
America Latina en Video / América Latina em Vídeo / Latin America in Video gives instructors, students, and researchers of Latin American studies, Spanish, and Portuguese a comprehensive and unique perspective on the region. The first of its kind, the collection’s materials are presented in their original language with abstracts and indexing in Spanish, Portuguese, and English. 

Theatre in Video
Experience the depth and diversity of drama in all of its forms, from the page, to the  stage, to the screen. These Theatre & Drama collections fill an important gap in scholarship by providing access to the best-known names in drama as well as works by and about often overlooked groups, including African Americans, women, and a range of world cultures. In addition to cornerstone text-based resources, Alexander Street provides curated video and audio dramatic performances that give students and faculty a well-rounded view of this powerful art form.

Library of Congress Performing Arts Web Archive
The Performing Arts Web Archive contains web-based content related to the Music Division’s current special collections and rare material holdings. The goal of this web archive collection is to reflect, enhance, and contextualize the division’s unique holdings with websites that have direct personal, institutional, or subject relationships to them. The web-based content includes online scholarship and blogs; fan sites; memorial and legacy foundation sites; websites of performing arts creators, organizations, and festivals; anniversary events; and social media.



Duke Digital Collections
Digitized historic photographs, advertisements, texts & more from Duke's unique library collections.

With approximately 300 collections composed of over 2.5 million images (and growing), scholars can examine wide-ranging material such as Native American art from the Smithsonian, treasures from the Louvre, and panoramic, 360-degree views of the Hagia Sophia in a single, easy-to-use resource. Artstor also supports study across disciplines, including anthropology from Harvard’s Peabody Museum, archaeology from Erich Lessing Culture and Fine Art Archives, and modern history from Magnum Photos, making it a resource for your whole institution.


**For more information about finding visual primary source material, see Duke's "Finding Images" LibGuide. 

Music and Sound

Audio Drama
Audio Drama: The L.A. Theatre Works Collection delivers, for the first time online, more than three hundred important dramatic works in streaming audio from the curated archive of the nation’s premiere radio theatre company. The plays - which include some of the most significant dramatic literature of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries - are performed by leading actors from around the world and recorded specifically for online listening. Specialized indexing at the track level for over half of these recordings links individual segments of plays to specific academic disciplines and subject keywords. This allows researchers to find relevant scenes that touch on subjects in the humanities, social sciences, theatre, hard sciences, law, medicine, and virtually every other field of study.

DRAM is a not-for-profit resource providing educational communities with on-demand streaming access to CD-quality audio (192kbps Mp4), complete original liner notes and essays from independent record labels and sound archives. Continuing in the tradition of DRAM's sister company New World Records, our primary focus is the preservation and dissemination of important recordings that have been neglected by the commercial marketplace, recordings that may otherwise become lost or forgotten.

Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries
Music Online: Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries produced in partnership with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, is a virtual encyclopedia of the world's musical and aural traditions. The collection provides educators, students, and interested listeners with an unprecedented variety of online resources that support the creation, continuity, and preservation of diverse musical forms.