Primary Sources

Your professor may ask you to find Primary Sources for your research. So what exactly are primary sources?

Primary Sources are original documents and recordings from historical events, people, and groups.  These are often first-hand accounts of historical events.

Examples include personal notebooks, photographs, manuscripts, business records, original research, and correspondence.

Secondary Sources are professionally written summary accounts of research or historical events, which sometimes reference primary sources.

Examples include newspaper articles, scholarly journal articles, documentaries, as well as some books.

Tertiary Sources give a broad overview of a particular topic, often by summarizing other research and resources.

Examples include encyclopedias, textbooks, timelines, exhibits, review articles, as well as some books and databases.

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Digital Collections

Explore thousands of items including theses, dissertations, scholarship, archival materials, audio, video and more in our digital collections.


Using the Archives

We look forward to assisting you during your research visit. Here are some things to expect when using the Archives Research Center.


Staff Directory

The Woodruff Library's friendly staff are ready to help you, including departmental help desk numbers, filter by department, and name index.


Ask an Archivist

Learn how to make an appointment with an Archivist to start finding primary sources in the Archives Research Center.