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Digital Teaching Collections (Special Collections)

This research guide highlights primary sources and research materials in Special Collections for English 102 students.

Welcome to the Digital Teaching Collections!

Please view the videos below for information on how to use the Digital Teaching Collections for your primary source research.    

Introduction to the Digital Collections

Introduction to Research Topics

Navigating and Searching the Digital Collections

Viewing and Downloading Digital Collection Items

Finding Information for Source Citations

Citing Digital Collection Items

The format of a citation for an item within a digital collection will depend on the style manual being used. Citations should provide as much information as possible to lead other researchers to the source being cited. In general, a citation for an item in UT’s digital collections should include the following:

  • Creator

  • Date of Creation

  • Object / Item / Image Title

  • Collection Name

  • Repository Name

  • Date Accessed

  • Citable URL

MLA example:

Wily, Catherine. Self portrait. Anna Catherine Wiley Sketches Collection. (n.d.). University of

     Tennessee Libraries, Knoxville.

     Accessed 12 December 2019.


Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) is an excellent resource to help with citations using MLA, APA, and Chicago styles.


Click below to practice navigating the collections:

Practice Quiz

Questions to Consider

Asking some basic questions about a primary source allows us to uncover what the source is telling us about the past, helping us to gather support for what happened and why.  

  • What type of document is it (letter, photograph, receipt, map, etc.)?
  • Who created this document?
  • When was it created? How do you know that?
  • Who is the original audience? 
  • Do you notice any unique physical characteristics? Writing in the margins, signatures, notes, smudges, tears, etc.?
  • What is the information/content that the document contains or presents?
  • What questions, ideas, or problems does the material suggest?   
  • What insights does the item give you about the time period in which it was created? 
  • Why do you think that Special Collections has kept this document?