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FYS-101 Information Literacy Lessons 2023-24

This guide contains the information literacy lessons for the SNHU First Year Seminar FYS-101 course offered on campus for the 2023-24 academic year.

FYS101 Primary Source Collections

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are original records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories. Primary sources may include letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, newspapers, speeches, interviews, memoirs, documents produced by government agencies such as Congress or the Office of the President, audio recordings... video recordings, research data, and objects or artifacts such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons.

Taken from the American Library Association / Reference and User Services Association

Primary Source Examples

Newspaper Ad for reward for return of Oney Judge, escaped slave
A newspaper ad
Facebook post by Antiracist Activist & Author Ibram X. Kendi
A tweet
George Washington's dentures
An artifact
;Ona Judge historical street sign
An historical marker

How will we use Primary Sources in FYS?

In First Year Seminar (FYS101) you will be presented with Collections of primary sources that reflect topics connected by a common theme.

See the following Example Primary Source Collection:

Example Collection Card titled "Doing Time" with each item explained in the text below this image.

The primary sources for this Example Collection are:

Primary sources are original documents (photos, documents, artifacts, letters, artworks, etc.) usually created at the time of an event. 

Final Project

For your Final Project in FYS101, you and a team of your peers will select one of the  "Primary Source Collections" below to research. As an individual, you will research one of the five primary sources in the Collection. Together, your team will bring together your research on all five of the primary sources in your Collection and present your knowledge to the class at the end of the semester in an Expert Panel Presentation.

Choose a Collection

Scroll through the Collections below, paying attention to each Collection's theme and description. Notice which Collection themes and/or primary sources capture your attention and interest most. You don't need to research any of these Collections now. At this point, you just want to assess which Collections most spark your interest. (To see a larger version of any individual source on a collection card, click on the card below, and open the folder and select the source you would like to see larger.)

Choose five Collections you find the most interesting and check them off on the Primary Source Collection Selection Form (at the bottom of the Collection images below) and upload to the assignment in Brightspace.

Personal Property

Personal Property primary source Collection

Maid in America

"Maid" in America primary source Collection

America's Game

America's Game primary source collection

Skin Deep

"Skin Deep" primary source collection about the complex impacts of colorism on Black lives, livelihoods & identities.

Common Knowledge

"Common Knowledge" primary source Collection about the struggles of Black people for quality education in America.


"Malpractice" collection of primary sources about the history of medical racism and its role in the current social determinants of health.

Equity & Exclusion

Equity & Exclusion primary source Collection about the history of segregation & housing discrimination in the US & their cumulative impacts on society.

White Lies

White Lies primary source Collection about the role of whitewashing in our history and culture.

Debts of Service

"Debts of Service" primary source Collection about the hope and burden of military service for Black people in the U.S.

Right of Passage

"Right" of Passage primary source Collection about historical efforts to limit and control the mobility of Black people.

Purchasing Power

"Purchasing Power" primary source Collection about the business savvy and resilience of Black Americans who advocated for Black-owned businesses to serve Black communities.

Once you have closely viewed the Collections above, download the Primary Source Collection Selection Form below and select the five Collections that most interest you and submit to Brightspace.

2023/24 Primary Source Collections

Scan this QR code or go directly to the Collection Cards slides This link opens in a new window. Each image on each Collection card has an embedded link to a resource about that particular primary source. 

QR code for FYS 2023/24 Primary Source Collections