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Primary sources are records or documents created at the time historical events occurred. Primary sources could also be made after historical events have taken place by someone who participated in those events (for example, memoirs or oral histories). Some of the most common types of primary sources are letters, manuscripts, diaries, newspapers, statistics, interviews, memoirs, oral histories, speeches, objects, or artifacts.
Secondary sources interpret or analyze an historical event. Most secondary sources are books with footnotes or endnotes, journal and magazine articles that analyze or interpret past events, biographies, book reviews, literary criticism, or recreations of artwork or artifacts.
Need more explanation? Scroll down and take a look at some of the websites listed below. They contain more information about the difference between primary and secondary sources, as well as short interactive quizzes to help you test your knowledge.
Need more info on the difference between primary and secondary sources? These websites have guides and quizzes to help.
To look for books containing primary sources in the SanJac library, search the library catalog.
A good way to search for library books that contain primary sources is to include keywords like letters, diary, papers,or journal in your search:
Find books and more!
These websites are great resources for finding primary sources online. Mouse over a title for more detail:
The Internet is a fantastic resource for finding primary sources, but you have to be careful to make sure the site you use is reliable. Here are some ways you can tell:
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