Using primary sources

Primary source items are excellent for use in educational contexts. They stimulate students' curiosity and are very useful for inquiry based learning across a range of disciplines. Digitised primary source items can be used in a variety of ways by students.

While taking care to observe usage restrictions, and by using free to use items, students can re-use digital primary source objects to create projects. Here is a selection of tools that you will find useful for working with these items in the classroom and library. Find out more about Digital CItizenship and visit the Creative Commons New Zealand website and the Mix and Mash Educators Guide on this website to learn more about copyright.

Online tools

L2 Libraries and Learning
Libraries and Learning blogThe L2 Blog often reviews apps and tools that you may find useful when working with primary source material.


Creative Commons New Zealand
Creative Commons New ZealandHere you will find information about using CC licenses that will help you to make decisions about using and publishing your own and others' work.



AnimotoThis tool allows you to bring together and create short video-like presentations of items like photos, music and video for embedding into a web page.


Digital NZ
Digital New ZealandFrom Media in the 1980s to Marmite, DigitalNZ’s set function lets you quickly create, describe, and share your own galleries of primary sources.


EvernoteAnother great tool for collating various types of media and notes to organise them for a project.


GlogsterHere's a great app for making posters as part of a unit of study. Students can easily create posters by adding in images and text.


HistoryPinSee stories and photos from personal and wider collections placed on a map so you can explore the present and the past.


Living Heritage
Living HeritageSchools that are interested in telling their own stories using primary sources and more will find Living Heritage a potentially useful publishing platform to celebrate their heritage.


This is a fantastic tool for students and teachers to make really engaging and dynamic presentations incorporating digital primary source items.


QuizletThis great and easy to use site allows teachers or students to make online flash cards that can include digital images for studying a topic. These can also be uploaded onto mobile devices.


Show MeAllows students and teachers to create virtual whiteboard presentations and lessons then share using a free iPad app.


Tiki-TokiThis app allows you to create a timeline and incorporate images and text.



Voice ThreadVoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show. It includes support documentation especially for educators.


ZoteroThis is an online app that lets students manage a research project. They collect their data, information, images, organise them, cite their sources and even collaborate with peers.