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CJS 107: Criminal Procedure and Rules of Evidence

Primary Sources Online (Custom Search)

Primary Sources are "manuscripts, first-person diaries, oral histories, letters, interview, photographs, maps, films, sound recordings, music song sheets--fragments of history, incomplete in themselves, but when assembled, analyzed, and researched, they can provide personal insights, human drama, and deep historical understandings." Secondary sources are works that comment on primary sources.

Veccia, Susan H. 2004. Uncovering our history: teaching with primary sources. Chicago: American Library Association.

This is a google custom search engine, designed to return primary sources from free online collections. You can explore them individually at the following locations:

  • American Memory (Library of Congress) written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience

  • Avalon Project - Documents in Law History and Diplomacy

  • Chronicling America - Historic American newspapers from 1836 - 1922.

  • Eurodocs - Links connect to European primary historical documents that are transcribed, reproduced in facsimile, or translated. Also includes some video and sound files, maps, photographs or other imagery, databases, and other documentation. 

  • Hanover Historical Texts - Digital versions of historical texts for use in history and humanities courses.

  • Internet History Sourcebooks Project - Collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts. 


911 commission report chapter 13


Sample search: "prison"

From or, a recent search of "prisons" yielded 513 datasets. If you wanted to directly access any of these, such as the Prisoner Recidivism dataset seen in the image, you would click on HTML. (Clicking on the title takes you to a more lengthy description of the dataset.)

You are now in the Data Analysis Tools section for Prisoner Recidivism, part of the Bureau of Justice Statistics website. In addition to the definitions and explanations of the data collection methodology, pay special attention to the analysis analysis tools prisoner recidivism analysis 

On the analysis tab, you can check as many boxes as you like to identify the recidivism rates of a particular group of prisoners, such as non-hispanic males who had two or fewer prior arrests.

specific group recidivism rates 

This is just a portion of the data available, which also includes graphs.

data analysis tools "prisoner recidivism"


Publications and Products

Another notable part of the BJS website can be found under the Publications & Products link. Note that it is a drop down list, but you can click on it to see the Publication and Products overview.

BJS publications and products

CJS 107 students should particular attention to the topics below, especially "Courts."

Publications and Products Overview

The result should be a series of publications on the topic, retrievable in different formats.

Publications and Products: courts

Other websites to explore

Tutorial: How to find good websites