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Overview of primary sources

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A look at the definition of primary and secondary sources

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Overview of primary sources

  1. 1. An overview of primary and secondary sources Content by Dylan Owen Development specialist at the National Library
  2. 2. What are primary sources?A primary source is an item created around or during a specific event, placeor time.They are a record of a person’s perspective or experience of an event,place or time.
  3. 3. What are primary sources?Primary sources reveal personal information rarely containedin books and articles of the time. They offer students a directlink to the lives of people in the past.
  4. 4. What types of primary sources are there? Poster Digital photograph Artwork Tweet Letter Email Photograph Website Manuscript Wiki Ephemera Blog entry Map
  5. 5. Types of primary sources: Ephemera
  6. 6. Understanding primary sourcesIt is important to find out what primarysources are telling us and how.•Who created this primary source?•When and why was it created?•What type of primary source is it?•What does it tell you about a place orevent•What questions does it raise?•Why is this historically important?
  7. 7. Using primary sourcesThere are amazing resources out there – use them!• Make sure you cite your sources• Check for any conditions or restrictions• What can I use and reuse?• Respect the material, the creator and the subject Teacher and children, reading outside, by unknown photographer, ca. 1934. Alexander Turnbull Library. 1/2-068959-F
  8. 8. What are secondary sources?Secondary sources provide interpretations and explanations of events oftenafter they took place.A secondary source is created by analysing and synthesising information.Examples include, newspaper or magazine articles, books, onlineencyclopaedias etc.Secondary sources are often valuable in providing an overview or perspectiveof an historical event or time.
  9. 9. Summary Primary sources Secondary sources• Are first-hand accounts • Second-hand, published accounts• Provide clues that • Can include some primary historians call the sources, eg direct quotes or ‘historical record’ excerpts• Are often unpublished • Interpret an event • Can include some primary sources, eg direct quotes or excerpts

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