What is a Primary Resource?
Primary sources provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence created by participants and/or observers of a historical event or time period enabling researchers to get as close to the truth of what actually happened. Often, these materials are created at the time when the events or conditions occured. However, primary sources can also include autobiographies, memoirs and oral histories that are written or recorded later.
Primary sources are characterized by their content not their format. Therefore, primary sources can be found in published books, on microfilm/microfiche, in digital form or in their original format.
The following types of materials are generally considered primary resources:
1. Read the abstract, the scope and contents, and the biographical or administrative history to get a sense of what the collection contains.
2. Note any restrictions on the collection.
3. Look at the inventory list.
4. Write down the series, box and/or folder numbers you want to view.
5. Contact the archives to make an appointment or if you have any questions about the finding or the collection it refers to.
The following archives may have primary source materials useful for your assignment: