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HIS 348: History of the Catholic Church in the United States of America: Books: American Catholic Identity & Selected Topics

Course Guide for Professor Katharine Harmon

Primary & Secondary Sources

Distinguishing between primary and secondary sources is an important first step in scholary research. As critical inquiry is essential to solid, accurate research, scholars need to know the difference. According to the Society of American Archivists, primary sources are defined as "material that contains firsthand accounts of events and that was created contemporaneous to those events or later recalled by an eyewitness."

The SAA also defines secondary resources as "works not based on direct observation of or evidence directly associated with the subject, but instead relying on sources of information", as well as "works commenting on another work (primary sources), such as reviews, criticism, and commentaries."

The American Library Association's Reference and User Services Association has a detailed guide discussing the use of primary sources in research. Princeton University also provides a comparative overview of primary and secondary resources to aid in distinguishing between the two.

Browsing the Stacks

Call Numbers - using the Library of Congress Classification

BX800-4795 - Catholic Church

BX800-839 - Periodicals. Societies, councils, congresses, etc.

BX840 - Museums. Exhibitions

BX841 - Dictionaries. Encyclopedias

BX850-875 - Documents

BX880-891 -General collected works

BX895-939 - Study and teaching

BX940-1745 - History, Including lives of popes

BX1746-1755 - Theology. Doctrine. Dogmatics

BX1756 -Sermons

BX1760-1779.5 - Controversial works

BX1781-1788 - Catholic Church and other churches

BX1790-1793 - Catholic Church and the state

BX1800-1920 - Government and organization

BX1958-1968 - Creeds and catechisms

BX1969 - Forms of worship.Catholic practice

BX1970-2175 - Liturgy and ritual

BX2050-2175 - Prayers and devotions

BX2177-2198 - Meditations. Devotional readings. Spiritual exercises, etc.

BX2200-2292 - Sacraments

BX2295-2310 - Sacramentals

BX2312 - Images

BX2315-2324 - Relics. Shrines. Pilgrimages. Processions

BX2325-2333 - Saints. Hagiology

BX2347-2377 - Practical religion. Christian life

BX2380-2386 - Religious life. Religious state

BX2400-4563 - Monasticism. Religious orders

BX2890-4192 - Religious orders of men

BX4200-4563 - Religious orders of women

American Catholic Identity - Selected Works