What are Primary Sources?
Primary sources are original materials, such as a first-hand accounts, events, or works of literature or art, that have not been interpreted by anyone other than their creators. Common types of primary sources are diaries, letters, manuscripts, journals, interviews, memoirs, autobiographies, oral history interviews, speeches, organizational records, business records, documents produced by government agencies, newspapers, and many more. These sources do not generally describe or analyze other documents but are usually created by those who have witnessed what they are describing.
Watch the following video for more information on understanding primary sources.
Primary Sources Video
For history and theory in both primary and secondary sources, search for books.
For primary sources, use the advanced search to search in the AUTHOR field for your historical figure. For secondary sources, use the basic search, which will return books about (and by) your historical figure.
It's not necessary to limit your search to recent materials, as the primary sources may be really old.
For application of theory in both primary and secondary sources, search for articles.
For primary sources, use the databases' advanced search to search in the AUTHOR field for your historical figure. For secondary sources, use the basic search, which will return articles about (and by) your historical figure.
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Need a Book or Article that's not Online?
If you need a book or article that is not available online, we will do our best to get it for you. To request a book or article, fill out our online Request a Book or Article form.
When the article arrives, we will email it to you. It can take a few days or up to a few weeks to obtain an article. Occasionally it's impossible to get an article, but if it's available in the U.S., we can locate it.
If you request a book and live outside of Hall County and don't attend classes on the Gainesville campus, we will mail it to your home. If you are local, we will hold the book for you to pick up at the library. Books can be returned to your local campus or to the Trustee Library. If we own the book, delivery will take about a week. If we borrow it from another library for you, delivery can take two to three weeks due to the mailing time.