Primary sources are "first-hand" information, sources as close as possible to the origin of the information or idea under study.
In contrast, secondary sources, works that provide analysis, commentary, or criticism on the primary source.
Primary sources include original creative works (movies, television and radio shows, advertisement), written works by people who were participants or direct witnesses to an event (memoirs, personal correspondence, oral histories, and contemporary newspaper accounts).
The Online Archive of California provides free public access to detailed descriptions of primary resource collections maintained by more than 200 contributing institutions including libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies, and museums throughout California and collections maintained by the 10 University of California (UC) campuses.
Calisphere provides free access to unique and historically important artifacts for research, teaching, and curious exploration. Discover over one million photographs, documents, letters, artwork, diaries, oral histories, films, advertisements, musical recordings, and more. The collections on Calisphere have been digitized and contributed by all ten campuses of the University of California and other important libraries, archives, and museums throughout the state
Digital Public Library of America makes millions of materials from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions across the country available to all in a one-stop discovery experience.
Europeana works with thousands of European archives, libraries and museums to share cultural heritage for enjoyment, education and research. Europeana provides access to millions of books, music, artworks and more – with sophisticated search and filter tools to help you find what you’re looking for.
SNAC (Social Networks and Archival Context) is a free, online resource that helps users discover biographical and historical information about persons, families, and organizations that created or are documented in historical resources (primary source documents) and their connections to one another. Users can locate archival collections and related resources held at cultural heritage institutions around the world. Keep in mind that although SNAC is working to build a corpus of reliable descriptions of people, families, and organizations that link to and provide a contextual understanding of historical records it still only includes a small number of members which can be found here and shouldn't be your final stop.
Umbra Search African American History is a digital library and widget that aggregates materials documenting African American history and cultural life from archives, libraries, museums, and other US repositories. Umbra Search features thumbnail images and descriptive information about photographs, manuscripts, documents, books, sound files, video files, and other freely available resources.