There is no better way to study the past than through consultation of original, primary source documents produced during the time period or event being studied. Scholars and historians agree that the study of primary sources is the core of any serious historical research.
What are primary and secondary sources?
A primary source is original material, such as a first-hand account of an event by a participant or an eyewitness. Official government records and publications are also primary sources. Secondary sources analyze, evaluate, or interpret primary source material. Some examples of primary and secondary sources are:
Autobiography, memoirs, diaries, letters, etc., written by an individual
Book about an individual (biography)
Transcript of a Presidential speech
Newspaper commentary on a Presidential speech
Text of a court decision
Book that analyzes or explains court decisions on a particular topic
Journal article summarizing recent events in Congress
Description of the 9/11 terrorist attack by someone who witnessed or survived it
Book on national security since the 9/11 attack
Start your research at the library's homepage! Search "Everything" or limit your results to resources in one of the other five format groupings.
Search the library catalog to find primary source material: do a keyword search for your topic and add one of the words below as a second keyword: