Answered By: Library Reference
Last Updated: Aug 16, 2016     Views: 70

Primary sources are original materials created during the time period being studied, such as:

  • correspondence, speeches, diaries
  • newspaper and magazine articles
  • government documents, documents produced by organizations
  • art, photographs, images, advertisements, movies

They can also be produced later by eyewitnesses or participants, as in:

  • memoirs
  • oral histories

You can find primary sources in many places, including the books in our library catalog, our Special Collections & Archives, our history databases, and our historical newspaper collections.

Secondary literature interprets or analyzes an event based on primary literature, such as:

  • books (reference, scholarly, or popular)
  • journal articles

Tertiary literature distills the content of primary and secondary sources, such as:

  • textbooks
  • encyclopedia articles
  • guidebooks or handbooks

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