Primary sources give a first-hand account of an event or subject. These include diaries, letters, memoirs, oral histories (both audio and video), artifacts, government documents, experiment results, personal accounts in the news, and images.
Secondary sources interpret and evaluate an event or topic generally one step removed from what happened. These include scholarly articles, reference works, and newspaper articles.
A secondary source includes primary source content, which can be confusing. For example, a newspaper article often is written by a person who is one step removed from the event. However, if a newspaper article is written from the perspective of a person who witnessed the event, it could be a primary source.
To search for primary sources using Search:
personal narratives autobiography memoir
correspondences letters diary
interview oral history speeches pamphlet pictorial works
Here are a few select sources for primary source materials:
The Lesley University Archives Research Guide includes other resources for primary sources, including those specific to Lesley University.
If your topic relates to an event that occurred before 1923, there are likely relevant primary sources available in the public domain. Google Books has digitized and made available many such books.
Search for a specific work or for a general topic. Note, however, that Google Books also lists resources that are only available to preview. Look for resources with publication dates before 1923 and with a Read Preview link. The Advanced Book Search allows you to limit to Full view only books.
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