Non-traditional primary sources can be found in a diverse number of formats including audiovisual materials, artifacts, photographs, digital files, or other formats. These non-traditional materials can provide context and enrichment for the manuscripts, correspondence, books, and other printed matter they accompany in an archival collection. Collections of non-traditional materials can stand on their own as well, evidenced by the growing collections of media, photographic, and digital archives.
Researchers may find valuable information in such varied resources as:
- An audio recording on reel-to-reel tapes of an interview, which may reveal tone of voice, laughter, or other forms of communication that would not translate in a transcription.
- The edited or cut portions of a 16mm documentary film, which could be housed in an archive alongside the finished version, written film scripts, and correspondence.
- The personal objects and possessions of an author, such as pens, paper, and even a desk or car, which could be housed in the same archive that holds his or her literary manuscripts.