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Spanish and Portuguese: Primary Sources

Primary Sources

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:

 

Spanish Civil War Children's Drawings

  • Artwork (painting, sculptures, pottery, posters)
  • Diary, memories, and autobiographies
  • Interviews in a newspaper or magazine
  • Letters
  • 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: One of 634 drawings from collection "They still draw pictures", which is part of the Southworth Spanish Civil War Collection housed in the Mandeville Special Collections Library at UC San Diego.

The UCSB Library, as well as the rest of the UC campuses, hold rich collections of archival materials from Latin America, the Caribbean and Iberia. Some collections are accessible physically at UCSB Archives and Special Collections while other can be accessed online through the Online Archive of California (where you can search for finding aids) and Calisphere, the portal to digital collections from California's libraries, archives, and museums.

 

Explore these resources following the links below:

Newspapers are a type of primary source used in history. Many archives have newspaper collections, and some of them have even been digitized and may available online. Depending on the context, the time that the news was published, and the type of account (chronicles, editorials, etc.) a newspaper account can be considered both a primary and/or a secondary source. Check with your professor before using these resources.

 

As any primary source used for historical research, be aware of the strengths (first witness accounts) and weakness (bias, forgetfulness, sensationalism) of this type of source.

Historical Newspapers Databases:

This is a selection of UCSB databases and Open Access digital archives that contains primary sources from Spain and Portugal. This is not an exhaustive list but a sampling of the great variety of content freely available online. If you want me to add a new resource, please contact me!
Today, the web contains many archival and rare books materials that have been digitized and are freely available online. Below is a list of some of the best databases and sites to search for primary sources online

 

Archival & Library Portals:

Primary Sources

Online Projects

This is a selection of UCSB databases and Open Access digital archives that contains primary sources from Latin America and the Caribbean. Most content is in Spanish but some are available in English. This is not an exhaustive list but a sampling of the great variety of content freely available online. If you want me to add a new resource, please contact me!
Today, the web contains many archival and rare books materials that have been digitized and are freely available online. Below is a selection of databases and sites to search for primary sources online

 

Latin America

North America

Central America

Caribbean

South America

This is a selection of bibliographic and archival material freely available for the study of Medieval Spain and Portugal. This is not an exhaustive list but a sampling of the great variety of content freely available online. If you want me to add a new resource, please contact me!
UCSB's faculty, staff, and students have free and unlimited use of the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) collections, available for extended periods via Interlibrary Loan or immediately through their digital collections. CRL supports advanced research and teaching in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences by preserving and making available to scholars the primary source material critical to those disciplines. They have print, microfilm, and digital holdings. Geographical coverage: worldwide. Great place to find Latin American, Caribbean, Brazilian, and Portuguese collections from around the world!

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