This site, developed by archivists and special collections librarians, offers anyone teaching with primary sources an interactive, one-stop site to find and exchange information about teaching with primary sources.

On it, instructors share lesson plans, ideas, questions and answers by using the Submission Form and upload any accompanying worksheets, images, and audiovisual files. Viewers can comment and respond to posted materials. Site moderators will standardize tags for levels and topics to maximize usability.

The comprehensive Bibliography lists current publications and web sites in the field.  Use the Bibliography Submission Form to suggest new entries for the bibliography.

The News and Events page provides current information and announcements.  Use the Submission Form to submit news items.

Share your successes, but “failing upward!” is cool too. Ask questions, offer reflections, add suggestions, and build a vibrant community teaching and learning with primary sources!

The Society of American Archivists’ Section on Reference, Access, and Outreach, in collaboration with the ACRL Rare Books and Manuscripts Section, proposed creating a site as a pilot project to test the feasibility, use and usability of an interactive site for archivists/special collections librarians working in the emerging role of archival instructor. The goal of the site is to increase communication between individual archivist/special collection librarian instructors, and to further a fruitful collaboration between SAA and RBMS.


Why Teach with Primary Sources? A one-minute response.

Educators and employers are frustrated by the short shelf life of memorized information. They want students who know how to learn—to be able to think critically, to evaluate information from a range of sources and judge veracity for themselves. Learning from primary, rather than textbook sources, develops these valuable intellectual and creative work skills. Students must integrate information from multiple sources with different points of view. They must do independent research to fill gaps in the information trail. They have to use their own judgment to construct verifiable facts and logical assumptions into a compelling interpretation. This takes work, for the students and instructors, teaching with this approach. Primary sources have an immediacy and make learning an adventure. A visit to the archives engages and empowers students, inspiring them to be more perceptive and responsive learners.


Website Development Team:

Anne Bahde
Valerie Harris
Matt Herbison
Robin Katz
Doris Malkmus
Elizabeth McGorty
Rachel Grove Rohrbaugh
Heather Smedberg
Matthew Strandmark
Jenny Swadosh
Mattie Taomina


The Society of American Archivists does not assume responsibility for the opinions and views published on this auxiliary site.

Created by the Reference, Access, and Outreach Section of the Society of American Archivists, and the Teaching with Primary Sources Committee.