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Historical Research

guide to select resource for historical research, including online digital collections, and print and microform collections in the Blume Library, including primary sources

What is a primary source?

A primary source is a first hand account of an event. However, primary sources are contextual.  So, for instance, a newspaper article may be primary source for one topic (an first hand account from the time being studied) OR if could be a secondary source (discussion of an event that occurred in the past). 

This guide lists a variety of primary source types that can be found online, at the Blume Library, and in the San Antonio - Austin area.

"Primary sources are 'original' materials that provide you with the 'raw data' or evidence you will use to develop, test, and ultimately justify your hypothesis or claim. What kinds of material count as primary sources vary significantly by field. In history, primary sources are artifacts or documents that come directly from the period or event you are studying: letters, diaries, objects, maps, even clothing." (Booth, Craft of Research, 4th ed., p. 66)

"Primary sources are items that are directly associated with the producer or user and the time period in which they were created. Examples include diaries, newspaper articles, government documents, clothing, photographs, oral interviews, and news broadcasts." (Presnell)