HIST 1123: World Civilizations II

Books, articles, and other library resources for students in World Civ II

What are Primary Sources?

Collage of primary source documents

Here's a great definition of primary sources from the American Library Association

"Primary sources are original records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories. Primary sources may include:
  • letters,
  • manuscripts,
  • diaries,
  • journals,
  • newspapers,
  • speeches,
  • interviews,
  • memoirs,
  • documents produced by government agencies such as Congress or the Office of the President,
  • photographs,
  • audio recordings,
  • moving pictures or video recordings,
  • research data,
  • and objects or artifacts such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons.
These sources serve as the raw material to interpret the past, and when they are used along with previous interpretations by historians, they provide the resources necessary for historical research."

--Using Primary Sources on the Web, rev. 2008.

Primary Sources Help

Not sure how to work with primary sources? Here are some great tips:

Primary Sources Online

These are a few primary sources available to you online.

Primary Sources in the Libraries

Try to add terms such as "sources" or "personal narratives" to your search terms to locate published sources, for example:

  • spain--colonies--america--history--sources
  • india--history--sources
  • france--history--revolution--1789-1799--personal narratives
  • spain--history--civil war--1936-1939--personal narratives