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What are Primary Sources?
Primary sources are first-hand accounts by participants of a particular event or materials produced at the same historical time period.
If you were examining racism in the 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the article in the encyclopedia on the "Negro" would be a primary source. However, an article in the American Historical Review analyzing racism in the Britannica would be a secondary source. (Richard Marius, A Short Guide to Writing About History, pp. 14-15.)
Some examples of primary sources include:
- Memoirs, speeches, writings, correspondence
- Papers of a political party, agency, or association
- Official documents such as congressional hearings and reports
- Contemporary magazine and newspaper articles
- Contemporary art, films, literature, and music
- Contemporary artifacts, such as buildings and monuments
Finding Primary Sources
When looking for primary sources, you need to consider:
- Who would create the documents? Who would preserve the documents?
- Who can be individuals or groups, such as local, regional, or international organizations, associations, and governmental agencies.
- How would the documents be preserved and accessed? Would they have been
- Formally published/produced, such as books, newspapers, magazines, films, music, court cases, etc.? You are likely to find these items in library databases.
- Informally published/produced web documents, such as press releases, reports, policy statements, etc.? You may find recent documents through Google or the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine (going back to 1996).
- Personal or internal documents? If these materials were preserved, they may only be available through visiting private collections, library archives, museums, historical sites, or corporate/organization archives. A national library, public library, historical society, or university/college library may have digitized some of these materials. Interviews and oral histories produced as part of a scholarly research project are often only available from the researcher.
The websites of organizations provide primary documents related to their work. To find relevant organizations, read news stories on your topic and note which organizations are mentioned. Then, search Google to find their websites. Here are a few examples:
FIFA's website contains a wealth of information about its governance, finances, organizing committees, and more.
FIFA World Football Museum
The Library at FIFA World Football Museum is home to a unique collection of over 7,500 books, magazines and documents covering over 110 years of FIFA and world football history.
Kick It Out
"Kick It Out is football’s equality and inclusion organisation... The organisation is funded by The Football Association (FA), the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), the Premier League and The Football League."
LA 84 Foundation
A grant-making and educational foundation, LA84 supports youth sports in Southern California, commissions research, and maintains an Olympic and sports library collection. See the Knowledge
section of the website for research reports and their digital library.
Rio On Watch
Catalytic Communities (CatComm), a US nonprofit organization and Rio de Janeiro-based NGO, "publish[es] the perspectives of community organizers, residents, and international observers, in light of the fast-paced urban transformations that currently characterize Rio."
Professor Kittleson's Favorite Sites
Note: these are mostly English-language blogs and websites; Professor Kittleson likes lots of blogs/sites in Portuguese, too!
These sites are great for keeping up with the soccer world, and they may post links to useful primary documents from time to time.
Soccer Politics / The Politics of Football
Created by Professor Laurent Dubois as a place for commentators, including students in the Duke University class “World Cup and World Politics,” to post thoughts, musings, rants, links, etc. related to the history and politics of soccer.
Edge of Sports
Sports journalist Dave Zirin's weekly sports column website. He also writes about the politics of sports for the Nation Magazine.
Publishers of the largest football magazine, they aim to "to offer our intelligent, international audience access to the game’s biggest names, insightful analysis, and a bit of a giggle."
Football Museum in São Paulo
A site with lots of secondary and some primary materials. Switch to English language interface under "Idiomas." Explore the Reference Center.
Biblioteca Nacional - Hemeroteca Digital
Search Brazilian newspapers, some in English.
In Bed with Maradona
Lots of different articles.
Football is Coming Home
Started out as a blog about the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and has evolved into a space for discussing and reflecting on issues in global football, including Latin America.