What is a Primary Source?
A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event. Some types of primary sources include:
- ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS (excerpts or translations acceptable): Diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, official records
- CREATIVE WORKS: Poetry, drama, novels, music, art
- RELICS OR ARTIFACTS: Pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings
- Examples of primary sources include:
- Diary of Anne Frank - Experiences of a Jewish family during WWII
- The Constitution of Canada - Canadian History
- A journal article reporting NEW research or findings
- Weavings and pottery - Native American history
- Plato's Republic - Women in Ancient Greece
What is a secondary source?
A secondary source interprets and analyzes primary sources. These sources are one or more steps removed from the event. Secondary sources may have pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources in them. Some types of seconday sources include:
- PUBLICATIONS: Textbooks, magazine articles, histories, criticisms, commentaries, encyclopedias
- Examples of secondary sources include:
- A journal/magazine article which interprets or reviews previous findings
- A history textbook
- A book about the effects of WWI
Always Available Primary Source ebooks
These primary soruces are ALWAYS AVAILABLE to download from Gale Virtual Reference Library. Click the book cover view the record on Gale and download from there.