The Real Deal
If you are interested in viewing the original primary resource (rather than a preproduction, reprint, or digital version) you will need to visit an archive or special collection. Each archive will collect for a certain topic or time period. Visiting that archive's website and/or online catalog will help you determine what it holds. WorldCat also includes records for archival collections. Some Indianapolis archives and libraries with original primary resources include: IUPUI University Library Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives, Indiana State Library, Indiana State Archives, and Indiana Historical Society.
To best access original archival and manuscript collections via IUCAT, WorldCat or other library catalogs, look for mechanisms in the advanced search functions that allow you to limit by archive or manuscript. For example in WorldCat's Advanced Search screen you can put a check next to Archival Materials.
Reprinted Primary Resources in IUCAT, World Cat, or other library catalogs
Remember that primary sources may be in the form of reprints (monograph compilations, reprinted letters, diaries, microfilm, etc.) Doing a search in a library catalog adding the following subject headings to your keyword search, will help you find these reprints as well as original archival collections:
early works to 1800
Freely Available Digital Primary Resources
Some of the collections of primary resources listed above are freely available resources, digitized and placed online for scholarly use by cultural institutions such as libraries, museums, and historical societies. Many other collections of this nature exist and can be located through a simple Google search. Search strategies for locating possible collections: 1) Try a simple keyword search (Ex. Indianapolis Sanborn maps) 2) Try searching for the museums and libraries geographically or topically related to your research project. (Ex. Indiana Historical Society)
A word of caution, If you are searching the open web for primary sources make sure you carefully evaluate the source and site. Don’t just assume the digitized document is a quality resource. University of Washington has developed a guide for determining quality and for proper citation of such sources.