Primary Sources are documentary evidence of events as remembered by the people that experienced. There are a wide variety of sources that can be label "primary" such as:
- Artwork (painting, sculptures, pottery, posters)
- Diary, memories, and autobiographies
- Interviews in a newspaper or magazine
- Performance (like a play or a ballet or a flash mob)
- Poem and other types of literature (novels, short stories, fables, etc.)
- Treaty and other legal documents that document decisions such as bills of sales, wills, etc.
Sometimes, a secondary source (a source that analyzes primary sources to understand why a phenomenon happened such as scholarly articles published in academic journals, research books, biographies, textbooks, etc.) can be treated as a primary source depending on the context of your research. For example, if you are doing a research study about how biology teaching has changed through time, then biology textbooks are considered a primary source.
Primary sources can be found both in libraries and archives. Many have been digitized and accessible online while others are only accessible by visiting an archive or getting a print book at the library or through Interlibrary Loan. Explore the tabs on this page to see where and how you can find and access these sources!
Caption: "2nd Annual Pilipino Lechon celebration" (1978) Collection: Kearny Street Workshop Archives, at UC Santa Barbara, Library, Department of Special Research Collections. Source: Calisphere