New in Gale Literature Resource Center: Primary Sources & Historical Documents

4 min read

| By Gale Staff |

Twenty-some years ago, I gravitated to an English degree because I loved writing and reading, but it wasn’t until my first upper-level seminar that my abilities to analyze works of literature deepened. In the course, we were encouraged to make liberal use of historical documents to help our twentieth-century minds make the leap to the nineteenth-century world we were studying through newspapers, advertisements, images, and more. The effect was dramatic, allowing me to connect to works in new ways and develop an interest in research.

During my college years, the use of primary source documents was reserved for more advanced courses, but recent user interviews with faculty and librarians reveal new trends:

  • Primary source materials are important at all levels of teaching digital natives, particularly in hybrid classrooms, where engagement is even more critical to success.
  • Gathering these materials can be a time-consuming process, especially when links are broken, instructors are teaching a new course, or rights are an issue.  
  • Students often struggle to understand the connection between these types of documents and a work of literature.

To help instructors and students easily access primary source documents related to works of literature as well as support students in the key primary source literacy skill of conceptualization, I am proud to announce the launch of Primary Sources & Historical Documents sets (PS&HD) within Gale Literature Resource Center (LRC) on May 31, 2024.

PS&HD sets are a curated collection of materials selected to illuminate a theme or themes in a work of literature and complement the over 100,000 primary source materials already available in LRC. Academic subject matter experts have compiled these documents for instructors to engage, inspire, and help students think more deeply about works of literature.

Each set includes a wide variety of images, audio, video, and textual documents to meet the needs of different learning styles, offer instructors and students a range of material for discussions, and help students generate and refine research questions around a work of literature. The sets can serve as valuable models for instruction librarians and students, showcasing how to establish connections between primary and historical documents and various themes across a wide range of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary topics and subject areas. They can also be used by instructors to drive engagement in breakout discussions and more.

Available at release are sets for fifty works, ranging from Frankenstein to Fences. By August 2024, LRC will include sets for one hundred works of classic and contemporary literature from all genres. Over half of these continue LRC’s long-standing commitment to include and spotlight authors from international and underrepresented communities.

PS&HD sets are accessed from Work portal pages in LRC.

When users click to view the set page, they will find additional contextual information to orient themselves with the materials presented.

Documents in the set will also return in a general search and add to the over 100,000 primary source documents included in LRC.

The launch of these curated sets of PS&HD completes the enhancements we announced in July 2023.

As part of this effort to update LRC, we’ve implemented the following improvements:

  • A new image pop-out feature allows you to expand an image for easier viewing. 

  • Document headers have been enhanced to include new fields to capture information critical for primary source literacy.

Over time, we will continue to add sets of PS&HD to Work portal pages. Please contact us if there are works you’d like to see sets for, or tell us how you are using the sets and contribute suggestions for additional connections to primary sources within LRC.

For more support, visit our support site or reach out to your sales rep.

Gale Literature Resource Center: Exciting New Enhancements

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