Primary Sources

What Are Primary Sources?

  • first-hand information from a person who witnessed or participated in an event
  • original materials, created at the time of an event or soon thereafter
  • can include scientific data, statistics, or an official transcript of a government proceeding

Primary sources can be almost anything.   They are found in a variety of formats:

  • original documents in archives and libraries (Many of our special collections are "home-grown" primary sources)
  • materials reprinted in published sources, such as collections of letters, diaries, autobiographies
  • microforms 
  • digitized materials on the Web 
  • sound recordings

See our library guide on primary sources.