A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the period being studied. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event. Also included are works created later by an eyewitness or a participant in an event, e.g. memoirs/autobiographies.
Types of primary sources:
Original documents (including excerpts and translations): diaries, speeches, manuscrips, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, official records, ancient literature, magazine and newspaper articles.
Creative works: poetry, drama, novels, printed music, sound recordings, art.
Relics or artefacts: pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings.
Statistics and raw data
Reproductions, facsimiles or replicas of original documents, creative works or artefacts are also acceptable as primary sources.
Examples of primary sources:
- Reports and Documents from the Ontario Ministry of Education.
- The life and letters of Annie Leake Tuttle: working for the best
- The Constitution of Canada
- Newspaper article from the time an event occurred
- Photographic reproduction of Benjamin Chee Chee's "Dancing Goose"
- Sacred texts
- Publications, speeches etc from church or religious groups.
The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints
Finding primary sources in the library collection
- Original documents can be found by consulting the Archives and Special Collections (ARC) website.
- Reproductions can be found by checking Omni.
Use specific words to locate primary sourcees in Omni, such as: correspondence, sources, diaries, letters, personal naratives. KEYWORD search examples:
- [PERSON’S NAME] and s:correspondence
- [PERSON’S NAME] and s:diaries
- [PERSON’S NAME] and s:letters
- [KEYWORD] and s:sources
For more information on relevant primary sources, see the Greek and Roman Subject Guide.
Centre for Research Libraries
The Center for Research Libraries (CRL)
A great institution to check for historical documents, newspapers, journals, archives and other sources. "The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) is a consortium of North American universities, colleges, and independent research libraries. The consortium acquires and preserves newspapers, journals, documents, archives, and other traditional and digital resources for research and teaching and makes them available to member institutions through interlibrary loan and electronic delivery." Carleton University Library is a mermber of CRL.