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.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Revisiting the Katyn Tragedy of 1940

Investigators are trying to determine what caused Saturday’s plane crash that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski. A total of 96 people, including many high-ranking Polish military and political leaders, perished in that crash. The delegation was traveling to a ceremony to mark the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, which was carried out in the spring of 1940 by the Russain Army. More than 10,000 Polish military personnel, along with university lecturers, surgeons, lawyers and others, were executed in that mass slaughter. Documents pertaining to the massacre can be found at The Internet Archive. If you do a simple keyword search for "Katyn", you’ll find the text of hearings held in 1952 before the Select Committee to Conduct an Investigation of the Facts, Evidence and Circumstances of the Katyn Forest Massacre. Some of the testimony is horrifying, as are the pictures included as exhibits. Those resources exemplify the type of primary source material you can find at the Internet Archive - a non-profit corporation created to create a digital library. The Internet Archive's electronic holdings include texts, audio files, moving images, software and archived web pages. It is able to amass such a collection by partnering with others, including well over 150 libraries, to make materials freely accessible. The text mentioned above, for example, was contributed by the Boston Public Library. The picture above left shows a mass grave at the Katyn forest. That image comes from the CIA’s Center for the Study of Intelligence.

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