Primary sources are first-hand accounts, that serve as original evidence documenting a period, event, people, idea or work.
Primary sources can be printed materials like books or newspapers, manuscript and archival materials like diaries and documents, artifacts, and audio/visual materials. Primary materials can be found in analog, digitized, and born-digital forms.
Some examples of primary sources include:
Primary sources are not neutral. It is important to read primary sources critically and consider the following questions:
Understanding the historical context of the primary sources is very important. Watch out for how your own 21st century values and views influence your interpretation of the source.
For more information on critically reading primary sources, see: