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Primary Sources: Home

Understanding primary sources

Primary and Secondary Sources Video

Imagine Easy Solutions. Understanding Primary & Secondary Sources. YouTube. YouTube, 2 June

     2014. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.

Primary Source Databases

Many of the history databases available to you through the Kirtland Library include or are entirely comprised of primary source material.  To see all of the Library's history databases and read a short description of each, go to the Databases for History and Geography page.

Take a look at Kirtland's Databases for History & Geography for primary source information.

A sample of the databases with a primary source focus :

Primary Sources on the Web

Primary sources can be found in some of the collections available on Kirtland Library's Databases for History & Geography page (see above).  You may also find primary sources in subject and course guides.  The links below will give you an idea of the types of primary sources available elsewhere on the web.

Oral History Interview Tips

Although the following links pertain to creating oral histories, the basic tips regarding the interview may prove helpful.

Contact Us

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For Answers to Library Questions, check out our Library FAQs

Quiz Yourself - Primary or Secondary?

Quiz yourself!  Decide whether the following five sources are primary or secondary. 

Answer: Secondary Source

A biography is not a primary source, but an autobiography is.

"Stringing rural TVA transmission line."
Rural Electrification Administration (REA) - Tennessee Valley Administration (TVA)

Black and white image of a 1930s-40s era truck parked alongside a road near a power pole which has two workers at the top of it and two men near the bottom of it. Bricks, wood, pipes, and gravel are in small piles.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Library
Public Domain Photographs
National Archives Identifier: 195878

Answer: Primary Source

Viewing historical photographs can give a sense of the time period beyond the original intent of the photo.  Look at those vehicles in the background!

The White House. Remarks by The First Lady at a Reach Higher "Prep" Rally.

     YouTube. YouTube, 9 Sept. 2014. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.

Answer: Primary Source

Speeches, whether in video, audio, or transcript form, are primary sources. 

Answer: Primary Source

Diaries, letters, and journals are primary sources.

Answer: Secondary Source

Many primary sources are referenced in this secondary source.  As a secondary source, it is able to describe Michigan's involvement in the Civil War from different persepectives.

4-5 correct -- Source Master - You've got it all under control!

2-3 correct -- Source Apprentice - You're starting to get the idea!

0-1 correct -- Source Novice - You must be new to this.  It may help for you to watch the video on this page. For additional assistance, please contact a librarian or your instructor.

A Sample of Primary Sources from the Shelves of the Kirtland Library