Using Primary Sources

Primary sources are original records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories.
Primary sources may include:
  • Letters
  • Manuscripts
  • Diaries
  • Journals
  • Newspaper articles
  • Speeches
  • Interviews
  • Pamphlets
  • Government documents
  • Photographs
  • Audio/video recordings
  • Research data
  • Objects or artifacts such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons
  • Other documents of the time
These sources serve as the raw material to interpret the past, and when they are used along with previous interpretations by historians, they provide the resources necessary for historical research.

Additional Websites About Primary Sources:
Reference and User Services Association: A Division of the American Library Association

Library of Congress – Primary Source Analysis Tool

University of California Library Santa Cruz – Distinguish Between Primary and Secondary Sources

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