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What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. 

  • ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS such as diaries, speeches, letters
  • CREATIVE WORKS such as poetry, music, art 
  • RELICS OR ARTIFACTS such as pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings

What about Science?  In the sciences, a primary source is the published result of experimental or observational research.

Primary Source Collections

Primary Sources in the Library Catalog

Search by keyword for primary sources in Discover
You can search Discover to find direct references to primary source material. Here are some words to include as keywords that would identify a source as primary: correspondence, diaries, early works, interviews, manuscripts, pamphlets, personal narratives, sources, speeches, letters, documents.


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