When starting a research project you must first select a topic, research the topic, and lastly, find resources that can be used to support your research and your project. It is important to remember that there are two types of sources: primary and secondary. Digital collections are perfect for finding and using sources especially primary sources. There are many ways digital collections can be used for research and there are many digital collections across the web to choose from and to use in your research. They are available 24/7 and many are open access. See the tab Primary Sources for a lot of ideas, inspiration, and great resources.
For example, when researching a historical event, you can't interview someone from the Civil War era but through primary sources of newspapers, correspondence, and diaries you can extract information to support your research topic.
Secondary sources are the interpretation, or the synthesis, of primary sources and present themselves through journal articles, academic books, and reviews. Secondary sources are useful for gathering background information on the topic that you are interested in pursuing and researching.
The following can be considered secondary sources:
To determine if something can be used as a primary or secondary source in your research, there are some simple questions you can ask yourself: