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Class Instruction

Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy (Developed by the SAA-ACRL/RBMS Joint Task Force on the Development of Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy, approved 2018).
These guidelines articulate the range of knowledge, skills, and abilities required to effectively use primary sources. While the primary audience for this document is librarians, archivists, teaching faculty, and others working with college and university students, the guidelines have been written to be sufficiently flexible for use in K-12 and in general public settings as well. The guidelines articulate crucial skills for navigating the complexity of primary sources and codify best practices for utilizing these materials.

Anne Bahde, Heather Smedberg, and Mattie Taormina’s Using Primary Sources: Hands-on Instructional Exercises (Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2014).
Provides examples of active learning exercises with primary sources held in special collections, archives, and museums, focused on the one-shot session. The exercises include introductory sessions on primary source analysis and the research process, as well as more advanced sessions on building analytical skills, contextualizing and synthesizing sources, interpreting finding aids, and interrogating a source’s physicality.

Eleanor Mitchell, Peggy Seiden, and Suzy Taraba’s Past or Portal? Enhancing Undergraduate Learning through Special Collections and Archives (Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, a division of the American Library Association, 2012).
A collection of case studies that focuses specifically on undergraduate students and highlights a wide variety of instructional models that provide important guides for teaching with primary sources, from one-shot sessions to longer programmatic interventions.

Christopher J. Prom and Lisa Janicke Hinchcliffe’s Teaching with Primary Sources (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2016).
Teaching with Primary Sources describes the development of primary source literacy, but also offers practical, hands-on ideas to integrate primary source literacy into curricula.

Teach Archives.Org
Based on an award-winning project at Brooklyn Historical Society, shares articles and sample lessons plans for effectively integrating active learning and primary source material into your curriculum.

Kelli Hansen’s "Collaborating with Your Special Collections Librarian" on the Pedagogy & American Literary Studies blog (October 10, 2016).
Tips and examples of assignments for incorporating library collections into courses and best practices for collaborating with librarians.

Tala Khanmalek’s "Teaching Students How to Use Archival Sources" on Ideas on Fire blog (February 19, 2019).
Reasons why teaching with archival sources is beneficial to students across the disciplines and interdisciplines as well as some pedagogical tips on how to do it well.