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A Librarian Reads the News

The Primary Source Crusader (my own mashup of images)

I’ve been working to find the original, official, published sources for the information and claims that make their way into everything from government policy to social media posts. Essentially, I’m providing the footnotes and citations I wish had been there in the first place so that I can evaluate the claims being made. I’m doing this using strategies familiar to most librarians — basically living out the advice we give to students every day.

Here are my basic strategies (anyone can do this) and here is a spreadsheet of primary source documents I’ve found so far. In my spare time, I pull together blog posts where I group source documents by topic:


Health Care

Democracy and Civic Engagement



Jobs and Manufacturing


For all the posts in this series, I have two caveats: 1) Not all knowable things are knowable using official, original published sources, but that’s the limit I’ve set for myself even when that’s inconvenient or frustrating, and 2) I am a librarian trained in tracking down and evaluating sources — nothing more or less than that. I am certainly not a lawyer or policy analyst. I’m doing my best to find the most authoritative version of the primary sources behind the news, and I welcome suggestions and corrections.