For immediate release | November 6, 2023

JSTOR and Choice jointly publish research presenting new insights on teaching with digital primary sources

Middletown, CT - JSTOR, a nonprofit service of ITHAKA, and Choice, a publishing unit of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), have partnered to publish a new research report, Teaching and Learning with Digital Primary Sources: Nine insights into awareness, literacy, and collaboration between librarians, faculty, and students. Available first through a free upcoming webinar, the report examines the current state of digital primary source instruction and research challenges faced by librarians and faculty instructors.

Rachel Hendrick, Choice editor and publisher, remarked, “This report centers the library as a repository for digital primary sources and the librarian as a partner to faculty in fostering digital literacy in the undergraduate classroom. It’s been rewarding working with JSTOR, and I hope readers will make good use of the actionable advice laid out in this report.”

This research comes at a critical time. As online education evolves in the wake of the pandemic and digitized and born-digital primary source resources increase in number, there is a growing need for innovative digital primary source instruction. Choice and JSTOR combined a literature review, survey data analysis, and practitioner interviews to create a comprehensive report that is packed with tips to help librarians and faculty members collaborate to improve student outcomes.

To cite one example, librarians and faculty agree on the importance of students understanding primary sources in context. Yet, forty percent of faculty members say lack of context hinders student workflow when using digital primary sources, and sixty percent of librarians cite lack of context as a stumbling block for undergraduate researchers. Virginia Spivey, director of AP Art History and Comparative Government and Politics at The College Board, shares a tool she’s using to help: having students look at citations and recognize how important footnotes are. “I was a big fan of online, collaborative annotations so that they would learn to ask questions about what they were reading and bring alternative viewings,” she remarks. “And I felt they could do that so much better when they were doing it together.”

Librarians and faculty members are invited to learn more about the report’s key insights and frontline implementations to address pressing challenges in digital primary source instruction through a Choice-ACRL webinar on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. The complimentary online event will be moderated by Choice’s editorial director, Bill Mickey and feature Michaela Ullmann, Head of Instruction and Assessment at University of Southern California (USC) Libraries, Virginia Seymour, MSIS, Head Librarian, Research and Instruction at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Libraries and Michael Vath, Director of Product at JSTOR.

“Digital primary sources are increasingly critical to instruction and engaging students across disciplines, and while millions of these sources are now accessible, we have a long way to go to improve their utility in advancing critical thinking skills and knowledge.” said Bruce Heterick, Senior Vice President of Open Collections & Infrastructure at ITHAKA. “It’s exciting to be one step closer as the research we’ve undertaken with Choice delivers unique, timely insights to help librarians and faculty immediately work together to improve the experience of finding and incorporating digital primary sources into undergraduate learning and research.”

Registration for this free online event is currently open, and will be recorded for those unable to attend live. Attendees will be the first to receive full access to the research report.



JSTOR is a part of ITHAKA, a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve access to knowledge and education for people around the world. As a nonprofit that believes in the power of knowledge to change the world for the better, JSTOR partners with libraries, museums, and publishers to reduce costs, extend access, and preserve scholarship for the future as affordably and sustainably as possible. At JSTOR, we strengthen the depth and quality of research by bringing together journals, books, images, and primary sources on a platform with unique tools for teaching and exploration. We do this because we believe in the power of knowledge to change the world for the better.

About Choice

As a publishing unit of the Association of College and Research Libraries, Choice supports the work and professional development of academic librarians by providing tools and services that help them become more effective advocates for their patrons. Through its over fifty-year history, it has established itself as an authoritative source for the evaluation of scholarly resources and as the publisher of trusted research in areas of interest to a changing academic library community. Today, Choice works to bring librarians, scholars, publishers, and the reading public together, facilitating a shared concern for the discovery, management, and preservation of scholarly information. Please visit Choice at for more information.


Deb Villavicencio-Eschinger

Marketing Manager