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This guide is to help users to identify, locate, and use primary sources in their research.
Film, video, posters, prints, photos, cartoons, artworks, paintings, etc.
Examples of Primary Sources
The following list contains examples of the many formats of items that may be considered primary sources. Thinking of these different categories of materials can help you imagine the various sources that might be available to you in your research. Note that the same piece of evidence may be a primary source in one investigation and a secondary source in another. Be creative in thinking about primary sources and adapt your search strategy to find specific formats of materials.
Books and monographs
Correspondence (email, text messages, postcards, letters)
Government documents (reports, census data, testimony, laws, treaties)
Machine readable data files
Manuscripts and Archives, whether personal or family papers or organizational records
Chapter 6, "The Thrill of Discovery: Primary Sources" in Jenny L. Presnell's The Information-Literate Historian: A Guide to Research for History Students (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007) provides a thorough overview of primary sources. The chapter covers definitions, categories of sources, locating materials, and evaluating sources.