Primary sources are records of a person, event, or occurrence that was created by an eye-witness or participant's version of an event. Primary sources allow researchers to gain better insight into historical figures and events.
Examples of Primary Sources
Letters, diaries, class notes, emails, texts, tweets, Facebook entries, and photographs.
Secondary sources are created by individuals who were not direct participants in an event. For example, books on Purdue University history are secondary sources because the author analyzes, interprets, retells, or explains events for which he did not personally witness or participate. Secondary sources help you understand a topic and give you different views of historical people, events, and occurrences.
Examples of Secondary Sources
Newspaper articles, biographes, history books, magazine articles, and documentaries.
How to analyze particular types of primary sources - tutorials
Guides to analyzing particular types of primary sources as part of world history. Each guide includes an introductory essay, a list of questions to ask when working with a particular type of evidence, interactive quizzes called "You be the Historian!", a sample analysis of one source, an annotated bibliography, and an annotated list of relevant websites.
Resources owned by academic libraries that were scanned during the Google Books project. Mostly older, out of copyright works are available. Useful for finding grey literature and primary sources.
HathiTrust is a partnership of more than 50 major research libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future. It ingests digital content from its partner institutions as well as from Google, the Internet Archive, and Microsoft. In some cases, books that are only available in snippet view through Google Books are full text at HathiTrust, which is actively investigating the copyright status of works published up to 1964. Hathi (pronounced HAH-tee) is the Hindi word for elephant, a symbol of memory, wisdom, and strength.
Designed specifically for public libraries, this multidisciplinary database provides full text for more than 2,000 general reference publications with full text information dating as far back as 1922. Covering virtually every subject area of general interest, MasterFILE Complete also contains full text for more than 1,000 reference books and over 164,400 primary source documents, as well as an Image Collection of over 502,000 photos, maps & flags. This database is updated daily via EBSCOhost.
PHAROS is an international consortium of fourteen European and North American art historical photo archives committed to creating a digital research platform allowing for comprehensive consolidated access to photo archive images and their associated scholarly documentation.
The Endangered Archives Programme seeks to preserve cultural heritage and make it available to as wide an audience as possible. To achieve this we provide grants to applicants to digitise and document archives. ‘Endangered’ means material that is at risk of loss or decay, and is located in countries where resources and opportunities to preserve such material are lacking or limited. ‘Archives’ refers to materials in written, pictorial or audio formats, including manuscripts, rare printed books, documents, newspapers, periodicals, photographs and sound recordings. The material can date from any time before the middle of the twentieth century, though archives that cross over to some extent into the second half of the twentieth century may be accepted if the majority of the material is earlier. It is one of our key principles that the original material remains in the country in which it is located.