Primary and Secondary Sources
|Proceedings and minutes||Letters and Correspondence|
|Journal articles reporting research results||Original documents (birth certificate, transcripts)|
|Scientific Journal articles reporting research results|
|Technical reports||Photographs and works of art|
|Sets of data such as Census Statistics||Autobiographies, memoirs|
|Works of literature (poems or fiction)||Eyewitness accounts|
A secondary source is information about primary, or original information, which usually has been modified, selected, or rearranged after the fact, for a specific purpose or audience. It can be a description, an interpretation, an analysis, a commentary and an evaluation of an historical event or phenomenon, or the original writing of an author.
|Biographies||Indexes and Abstracts|
|Dictionaries||Dissertations and Thesis|
|Directories||Monographs (non fiction)|
|Editorials||Review articles and Literature review|
|Textbooks||Work of criticism and interpretation|
|Periodical articles||Almanacs and Fact books|
Primary sources tend to stand on their own, while secondary sources are based on other sources, but it is not always easy to discern the difference between the two. The same document, or other piece of evidence, may be a primary source to one researcher and a secondary source to another.
For instance: If you are doing research on Pearl Harbor, a newspaper article commemorating December 7th, 1941 is a secondary source. An article dated of December 7th, 1941 and reporting the attack on Pearl Harbor is a primary source.
While performing a subject search in WebCat, use the LIBRARY
OF CONGRESS Library of Congress
subdivisions below to retrieve primary material on your topic:
|Personal narratives||Songs and music|
|Photography||Caricatures and cartoons|
|Underground literature||Exhibitions --posters|
Loyola University, http://libraries.luc.edu/seminar/0506/basic03.shtml