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Access Primary Sources Through loc.gov


The public libraries and our Library of Congress epitomize what true freedom looks like, feels like, sounds like, smells like, tastes like. I love the power of finding a resource that I perhaps didn't even know I wanted. There is something adventurous about that kind of discovery and with the Library of Congress with their collection of 5 million digitized items, that is so much energy flowing through the computer I'm giddy. 

If you want to feel the power of learning, go to loc.gov. There are several things I really like about their home page:

  1. The search feature resembles Google rather than having to know how certain pieces were categorized by librarians in the past.
  2. The 9 "buckets," "drawers" - I'm not sure what they are officially called, are easy to use. They are: digital collection; prints and photographs, historic newspapers, performing arts, veterans history, sound recordings, film, maps and manuscripts
  3. Teaching civics, argument writing, policy? congress.gov is searchable by state and you can see what has been proposed by your statesmen and where the bill is in its process
Another cool thing at loc.gov is that the maps are zoomable and with a clipper or my favorite app: jing, it's easy enough to clip and draw arrows, number, even write questions for your class. Nice!

Remember with great power comes great responsibility - so good teaching with primary sources is still good teaching, but look how many more primary sources are right at your fingertips. 

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