Primary vs. Secondary
 For some research projects you may be required to use primary or secondary sources.  How can you identify these?

A primary source is a piece of information that was created at the time that an event was ocurring.  Just about anything can be a primary source, regardless whether or not it is published, as long as the person who created it was present at the creation of the information itself. The format doesn’t matter – it can be a facsimile of the actual item (a copy of the Declaration of Independence that looks exactly like the original, for example), or it can be only the exact text of the item. 
 Primary sources provide direct or firsthand evidence about an event, object, person, or work of art.  Primary sources include historical and legal documents, eyewitness accounts, results of experiments, statistical data, pieces of creative writing, audio and video recordings, speeches, and art objects.  Interviews, surveys, fieldwork, and Internet communications via email, blogs, listservs, and newsgroups are also primary sources.  In the natural and social sciences,
primary sources are often empirical studies-research where an experiment was performed or a direct observation was made. The results of empirical studies are typically found in scholarly articles or papers delivered at conferences.


Secondary Sources

Secondary sources describe, discuss, interpret, comment upon, analyze, evaluate, summarize, and process primary sources.  Secondary source materials can be articles in newspapers or popular magazines, book or movie reviews, or articles found in scholarly journals that discuss or evaluate someone else's original research.

 

All Items by Source

Primary Sources

Artemis Primary Sources Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains images
Artemis Primary Sources allows researchers to uncover primary source documents in the 19th Century U.S. Newspapers archive where they may not have thought to look, greatly enhancing their research experience. Artemis Primary Sources offers a seamless research environment.
United States
100 Milestone Documents (from the National Archives and Records Administration)  These documents “are among the thousands of public laws, Supreme Court decisions, inaugural speeches, treaties, constitutional amendments, and other documents that have influenced the course of U.S. history. They have helped shape the national character …”

A Chronology of US Historical Documents (from the University of Oklahoma College of Law)   Full text of important primary documents from 1215 (Magna Carta) to the present (President Barack H. Obama's 2010 State of the Union Address).

Early Recognized Treaties with American Indian Nations (from the University of Nebraska Libraries)  Treaties from 1722 to 1805.

Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, “compiled and edited by Charles J. Kappler, is an historically significant, seven volume compilation of U.S. treaties, laws and executive orders pertaining to Native American Indian tribes.”  This digitized version from Oklahoma State University Library covers U.S. Government treaties with Native Americans from 1778-1971.

American Memory  (from the Library of Congress)  “American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience.”  Includes African American history, architecture, popular culture, folklife, immigration, Native American history, performing arts, music, sports, recreation, technology, industry, military, and women's history.
 
Africans in America (from PBS)  A number of articles, artwork, narratives, and other primary sources from colonial times.
 
American Slave Narratives (from the University of Virginia)
 
Born in Slavery:  Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938  (from the Library of Congress’ American Memory)
International
EuroDocs: Online Sources for European History (from Brigham Young University)  Texts and translations of documents by era or by country. 

Women in World History – Africa (from George Mason University)  Letters and narratives describing tribal life, travels, etc., 1656 to the present day.
           
East Asia (from the University of Washington Libraries)   Primary sources from China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.
 
South Asia (from the University of Washington Libraries) Primary sources from India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
 
Southeast Asia (from the University of Washington Libraries) Primary sources from Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, and Thailand.
 
Internet Medieval Sourcebook – Islam  (from Fordham University)  Philosophy, science, literature, pacts, and firsthand accounts of battles (from before 622 to 1772)
 
The Middle East 1916-2001  (from Yale University’s Avalon Project) Primary documents from 1910 to 2010, chronicling the twentieth century development of middle eastern nations.
 
Latin America (from the University of Washington Libraries)  A wide variety of primary sources on Mexico, Central and South American, and the Caribbean.
Subject Specialist
Picture: Wanda  Abrams

Wanda Abrams
Adjunct Librarian
Tel: 3154982943