As a college librarian, I often hear stressed-out students searching for primary sources say, "I'll take anything." Don't settle for just anything. There is a treasury of primary source material available electronically. Peruse my selection of 200-plus primary source sites by conducting a keyword search, exploring the tag cloud at left, or browsing by historical era. You can also visit my Delicious and Diigo sites to review my bookmarks. Here's hoping you find what you're looking for.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

President Obama takes heat for his lack of same.

Television commentators and sportswriters had a field day with President Obama’s ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals’ home opener earlier this week. If you search The American Presidency Project, you can learn about how some of the other leaders of the free world fared during their turns on the mound. I searched that site for “first pitch” and turned up the transcript of an April 3, 2006 press briefing aboard Air Force One during which White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan detailed President Bush’s plans to toss out the first pitch at that evening’s Cincinnati Reds’ home opener. I also found remarks from President Bill Clinton, expressing gratitude that Secretary of State Madeline Albright filled in for him at a 1997 Orioles game at Camden Yards. While such a search provides a few minutes of amusement at the reference desk, The American Presidency Project is an exceptional resource for more scholarly pursuits. This digital collection was created in 1999 through a collaboration between John Woolley and Gerhard Peters at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It contains almost 90,000 documents spanning a period from 1789 to the present. Among the items you’ll find are executive orders, State of the Union addresses, inaugural addresses, Saturday radio addresses, addresses to Congress, and much more. The search interface is exceptionally easy to use, allowing you to limit your search to a particular president, date, document category or document number. Perhaps in the future we’ll be able to find a reference President Obama’s much-maligned toss. The picture above left, from the White House, shows President Obama autographing a baseball at Monday’s game.

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