Primary and Secondary Sources
Where to find Primary Sources
Finding Secondary Sources
What is a primary source?
Primary Sources - provide direct or first-hand information about a time or event, usually a resource from the same time as the event.
- Works of art
- Audio recordings
- Government documents
What is a Secondary Source
Secondary Sources - do not have the immediacy of primary sources. They are from after an event, often use primary sources as evidence, and contain information that has been interpreted, reviewed, analyzed, or processed.
- Scholarly articles
- Documentary films
- Book reviews
- Music performances
- History books
Tips for Searching
Searching for Primary Sources:
- Choose a relevant starting point, perhaps from the list to the side
- In Google, site:.edu in a search will just return results with .edu suffix (i.e. university sites)
- Use filters in databases to your advantage, i.e. just search for photos
- Ask a librarian! (My favorite)
- Use the type of source in your search, i.e. search 'civil war diaries' or 'french revolution letters'
- Quotation marks search exact phrase - i.e. french revolution could find (how the French helped in the American Revolution) but "french revolution" only finds that exact phrase
Systems and Digital Services Librarian