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History: Primary Sources

What are Primary Sources?

 

 

 

For this assignment you will need to use primary sources. So what are they?  Here is a definition:

"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, newspapers, speeches, interviews, memoirs, documents produced by government agencies such as Congress or the Office of the President, photographs, audio recordings, moving pictures or video recordings, research data, and objects or artifacts such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons. 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." 

This definition come from the American Library Association's site: Using Primary Sources on the Web .  This is a great site to check to help you evaluate whether the information you find is a primary or a secondary source.

As you go through the material you find on these pages, you will have plenty of opportunities to look at both primary and secondary material. 

Searching for Primary Sources in the Catalog

When searching for primary sources in the catalog, one good trick is to add the term sources to the search

Thus:  United States -- Social life and customs -- 1918-1945 -- Sources