What are primary sources?
They are sources which provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. They present original thinking, report a discovery, or share new information.
They are created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events or conditions being documented. They are from the time period involved and have not been filtered through subsequent interpretation or evaluation.
Examples: autobiographies, letters, diaries, musical scores, works of art, speeches, recordings, photographs, articles in newspapers that describe events.
Primary Source Databases
Selected Primary Source Books
Finding Primary Source Materials in Library Catalog
Using the Libraries Search enter as a SUBJECT search the name of the event, individual, group, plus a term of what you're looking for, such as "Speeches", "Correspondence", "Diaries", "Personal Narratives", and "Sources". The term "Sources" refers to a collection of primary source materials. Here are some examples:
- "Benjamin Franklin" "Speeches"
- "Germany" "Unification" "Sources"
- To search for autobiographies or memoirs, search the person as both an AUTHOR and SUBJECT and the term "biography" as a SUBJECT. For example: "Trotsky" as SUBJECT; "Trotsky" as AUTHOR.