Primary source

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In historiography and other areas of scholarship, a primary source (also called original source) is a document, recording or other source of information that was created at the time that is studied. Usually it was produced by someone with direct personal knowledge of the events that are described.

It is used as an original source of information about the topic.[1] Primary sources are distinguished from secondary sources, which often build upon primary sources.[2]

Other pages[change | edit source]

Notes[change | edit source]

  1. In library and information sciences, primary sources are generally regarded as those sources closest to the origin of the information or idea under study. ("Primary, secondary and tertiary sources" and "Library Guides: Primary, secondary and tertiary sources"
  2. Handlin (1954) 118-246


Basically, a primary source is a source who was written by someone who was there (like an event).

References[change | edit source]

  • Jules R. Benjamin. A Student's Guide to History (2003)
  • Kathleen W. Craver. Using Internet Primary Sources to Teach Critical Thinking Skills in History (1999)
  • Thomas Cripps, "Historical Truth: An Interview with Ken Burns", American Historical Review 100 (1995), 741-64. online at JSTOR
  • Michael Drake and Ruth Finnegan (Eds), Sources and Methods for Family and Community Historians: A Handbook, (Cambridge University Press in conjunction with the Open University, 1997)
  • Wood Gray, Historian's handbook, a key to the study and writing of history (Houghton Mifflin, 1964).
  • Oscar Handlin et al., Harvard Guide to American History (1954)
  • Martha C. Howell and Walter Prevenier. From Reliable Sources: An Introduction to Historical Methods (2001)
  • Library of Congress, " Analysis of Primary Sources" online 2007
  • Richard A. Marius and Melvin E. Page. A Short Guide to Writing About History (5th Edition) (2004)
  • Barbara W. Sommer and Mary Kay Quinlan, The Oral History Manual (2002)

Other websites[change | edit source]

- to primary sources repositories


- to all sources repositories


- to essays and descriptions of primary, secondary and other sources