Primary Source Literacy

Special Collections

Special Collections offers an extensive primary source literacy instruction program. In collaboration with faculty from a variety of disciplines, we teach and co-teach classes that introduce students to primary source research. Our class visits are tailored to learning outcomes for each individual course and feature a variety of formats, from general introductions to advanced upper division and graduate-level research seminars. We also work with instructors to create assignments and to embed Special Collections materials and librarians into courses throughout the semester. (See, for example, our USC Posada Project collaboration with the USC Dornsife College's Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures.) For all students, our emphasis in the classroom is to use active-learning and hands-on activities, which familiarize students with the primary source research process and stimulate critical thinking skills. 

We also facilitate tailored primary source literacy instruction online. Please reach out to Instruction Coordinator Michaela Ullmann for any questions about course-specific primary source literacy instruction. 

As a way to deliver synchronous as well as asynchronous primary source literacy instruction, we have created a teaching platform delivering online tutorials and including exercises for students to work through. Chapters include "Introduction to Special Collections at USC Libraries, "A Short History of the (Mostly Western) Book," and "Electronically Available Primary Sources."

Our main instructional classroom (DML 206) can accommodate classes of up to 25 students. We also have a smaller seminar room (DML 208) for groups of up to 5 students. The main room is equipped with a retractable screen that may be used for presentations.