Douglas Library > Guides > How To Guides > Primary Sources > Primary Sources in History
Primary sources refer to first-hand accounts of a period or an event that the author directly experienced or observed. Secondary sources on the other hand, are generally based on primary source material and involve analysis of this material. Examples of primary sources are letters, diaries, correspondence, newspaper articles (written at the time), interviews, government documents, autobiographies, memoirs, speeches, videos, photographs, maps and art.
Some primary sources are reprinted in books. Do a keyword search on your topic and combine your keyword(s) with any of the following terms, using the word "and" -:
For example, type:
Please note when doing a keyword search, some of the items in your results list might not be pertinent to your search. Check the subject headings of the various titles to ensure that one of the above headings is appended to at least one of the subject headings.
Some primary sources may be held in the Reference collection. Examples of these are:
Use print indexes that cover the period you are researching. For example:
Newspapers are a good source of primary information. Find related newspaper articles published at the time of the event or during the period that is being researched. The Library has the following titles:
Note: Some sources are more acceptable than others as primary sources. If in doubt, ask your instructor.
Last Updated: 2017-06-12 11:56:56 AM