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A guide to English resources

Defining primary sources

Defining primary sources (Library of Congress):

"Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience."

Primary source collections

The History Subject Guide has a page on Primary Sources that is more detailed and spans different topics and regions. Check it out!

Find primary sources in Novanet

Use the Novanet Advanced Search to find primary sources. Adding primary source-related keywords to your Novanet search will help you to more easily locate primary source materials. Some keywords that can be used to locate primary sources are:

diaries pamphlets
sources archives
correspondence interviews 
notebooks personal narratives
speeches writings
fiction reports
pictorial works songs and music

Find primary sources in Google

Google and other search engines are also good for finding primary sources. Many libraries and other institutions have digitized primary source collections and made them available to the public. Use Google or other search engines to find primary source materials by adding primary source-specific terms (see "Find primary sources in Novanet" for a list). For example, 19th century Britain pamphlets.