What is a primary source?
a primary source is an artifact, a document, diary, manuscript, autobiography, a recording, or any other source of information that was created at the time under study.
Good examples of primary sources include letters, diaries, photographs, newspaper articles and documents from the time. Many primary sources can be found in Special Collections and Archives departments of research libraries, including here at ISU. Primary material can be invaluable resources for understanding the lives of people in the past - what they believed, what they experienced, what they did - all from a first-hand point of view. Below are several excellent database and online collections of relevant primary sources.