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Primary Sources for K-12 Educators

This guide is for K-12 educators seeking digital primary sources to use in their classrooms.

Flickr is a popular photo-sharing and hosting service. You may have used Flickr for your own photos. Libraries, archives, museums, and art galleries are taking advantage of Flickr to bring you primary source collections from their vast collections. Here is a list of a few of those collections.

Image Collections

  • UBC Library Digitization Unit - The Digital Initiatives Unit at UBC is a key part of the Library’s effort to adapt to the evolving needs of faculty and students and to support teaching, research and learning.  Collections on Flickr include Charle's Darwin's Letters, Japanese Canadian Photographs, WWI posters, World War I British Press Photographs, and more.


  • Vancouver Public Library Historical Photograph Collections - Contains images from VPL's Special Collections. Images include the Canadian Pacific Railway Collection and the Artray Collection, the Art Jones collection of approximately 11,000 photographs of Vancouver in the 1940s and 1950s. 


  • Library and Archives Canada - Since 2008, Library and Archives Canada has uploaded selected images to their photostream in the spirit of improving access to Canada's documentary heritage.


  • City of Vancouver Archives - The City of Vancouver Archives has documented and preserved Vancouver's past since 1933 when the first City Archivist Major J. S. Matthews was appointed by City Council. We are a public institution administered by the City of Vancouver and the official repository of Vancouver's civic government records.


  • New York Public Library - Lush images of modern dance pioneers; haunting early cyanotypes of algae (the first photographic works to be produced by a woman); majestic geographical surveys taken along the Union Pacific Railroad, iconic Depression-era images taken under the Farm Security Administration's famed photography program; Berenice Abbott's epic documentation of 1930s New York for the Federal Art Project; stunning 19th century vistas of the Egypt and Syria; scenes and portraits of Ellis Island Immigrants, the Statue of Liberty under construction.


  • The Library of Congress - We've been acquiring photos since the mid-1800s when photography was the hot new technology. Because images represent life and the world so vividly, people have long enjoyed exploring our visual collections. Looking at pictures opens new windows to understanding both the past and the present. Favorite photos are often incorporated in books, TV shows, homework assignments, scholarly articles, family histories, and much more.


  • Museum of Photographic Arts - The Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) is one of three museums in the US dedicated exclusively to the collection and preservation of photography, with a mission to inspire, educate and engage the broadest possible audience through the presentation, collection, and preservation of photography, film and video.


  • The British Library - The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and the largest library in the world by number of items catalogued. It holds well over 150 million items from many countries.


  • Library Company of Philadelphia - The Library Company of Philadelphia is an independent research library specializing in American history and culture from the 17th through the 19th centuries. 


  • National Library of Norway - The National Library of Norway's collection is a vast treasure chest of information and experiences about Norway, Norwegians and Norwegian culture and history. 


  • National Library of Ireland on The Commons - Here at the National Library of Ireland we look after the largest collection of Irish printed, manuscript, and visual material in the world, and our collections span almost 1,000 years of Irish art, culture, history and literature.


  • SMU Central University Library - Southern Methodist University's Central University Libraries (CUL) Digital Collections includes the digital libraries and online digital collections from the six Central University Libraries. Projects include the creation of digital collections of Mexican photographs, locomotives, Texas history, art, and currency notes, and more.


  • The National Archives UK - The National Archives, the UK government's official archive, containing over 1,000 years of history with records ranging from parchment and paper scrolls through to digital files and archived websites. 


  • The US National Archives - The photos you see here are only a sample of the more than 25 million photographs and 20,000 graphic images (posters and some original artwork) held in roughly 2,500 series at the U.S. National Archives in the Washington, D.C., area, our regional archives facilities from coast to coast, and from the twelve Presidential Libraries under U.S. National Archives administration.


  • Internet Archive Book Images - The Internet Archive is a 501(c)(3) non-profit library. Founded in 1996, our mission is to provide Universal Access to All Knowledge. We collect published works and make them available in digital formats. 




  • Canada Year Book (CYB) Historical Collection - Discover Canada's social and economic past through the people, events and facts from 1867 to 1967. Browse individual issues by years, by theme, or by tables, chart, maps and photos. 



  • Royal Ontario Museum Image - ROM Images is an online collection of images. It mirrors the unique range of the ROM's collections—world cultures and natural history. The image collection also highlights some of the ROM's research activities and its growth and history, including the new Michael Lee-Chin Crystal.