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World History: Primary Sources

Primary Source Images


Primary Sources

Primary Sources are the first hand evidence left behind by participants or observers at the time of events.

  • Autobiographies, memoirs, diaries, emails, oral histories
  • Letters, correspondence, eyewitness accounts
  • First-hand newspaper and magazine accounts of events
  • Legal cases, treaties
  • Statistics, surveys, opinion polls, scientific data, transcripts
  • Records of organizations and government agencies
  • Original works of literature, art or music
  • Cartoons, postcards, posters
  • Maps, photographs, films
  • Objects and artifacts that reflect the time period in which they were created

Documents in the NPC Library Collection

Primary Sources on the Web: World History

Secondary Sources

Secondary Sources are materials that digest, analyze, evaluate and interpret information contained within primary sources or other secondary sources.

  • Books, such as biographies (not an autobiography), textbooks, encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks
  • Articles, such as literature reviews, commentaries, research articles in all subject disciplines
  • Criticism of works of literature, art and music

Use the Library Catalog for secondary source books, and the databases for journal articles, digital reference books, and other secondary sources.