information is original material, such as a first-hand account
of an event or a work of literature or art, that has not been interpreted
by anyone other than its creator. Common types of primary sources
are diaries, letters, autobiographies, interviews, speeches, stories,
poetry, drama, sheet music, and visual art.
sources analyze and interpret primary sources, drawing upon
them to explain events of the past or explore the meaning of works
of art. Secondary sources are often produced well after the events
or primary sources they comment upon, and their authors tend to
be modern scholars or commentators rather than eyewitnesses of what
they write about. Typical secondary sources include scholarly books,
articles in journals, and textbooks.
Still not sure
how to tell the difference between a primary and secondary source?[More
it's called 'primary,' it must be more important than something
called 'secondary'." This may be true in some cases, but
not where sources are concerned! The terms are used in this context
to show how closely a source is associated with the event or object
it describes. Primary sources give you the raw data; secondary sources
help you understand it. Both types of sources can be equally important
to your research.
To learn more,
see using primary sources in
the library and beyond!