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Information Evaluation: Primary vs. Secondary

Primary & Secondary Sources

"The raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study." 

Primary Sources are created during the time of study

Examples: 

  • Newspaper or magazine articles
  • Books, pamphlets, government documents
  • Diaries, letters, manuscripts, speeches, interviews, relics, artifacts
  • Maps, archival materials, creative works
  • Art, visual materials, music, sound recordings, videos

 

Source:  Using Primary Sources by Library of Congress.. / Image Source: Primary Source Graphic by adstarkel. Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

"Accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience." 

Secondary sources are created after the fact

Examples:

  • Publications (not 1st person perspective)
  • Journal articles
  • Books, textbooks
  • Histories, criticisms, commentaries
  • Reference materials, encyclopedias

Source:  Using Primary Sources by Library of Congress.. / Image Source: Secondary Source Graphic by adstarkel. Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Video (3:53): Primary & Secondary Sources

How To Find Primary Sources On The LAVC Library Website

Best LAVC Databases For Finding Primary Sources

In addition to the websites discussed in the video above, you can also find a wealth of primary source documents through the LAVC LIbrary website by searching the databases listed below.

Video (2:18): 5 Awesome Primary Source Websites

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