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Primary vs. Secondary Sources
Types of Sources
The Library of Congress describes primary sources as "raw materials of history-original documents and objects which were created at the time under study." Primary sources are original, first-hand, authoritative accounts of an event.
Examples of Primary Sources include:
- Letters, diaries, journals
- First hand newspaper reports
- Speeches, memoirs, autobiographies
- Original photographs
- Creative works of plays, paintings and songs
- Research Data and surveys
Secondary sources interpret primary sources. They are at least one step removed from the original event or account. It is a secondhand version of events.
Examples of Secondary Sources include:
- Essays and reviews
- Criticisms and commentaries
- Articles that discuss events and ideas
- Documentaries (though they often include photos or video portions that can be considered primary sources).
Databases for Primary Sources