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Primary Sources

Examples of primary sources:

  • Diaries & Journals
  • Letters
  • Newspapers
  • News Broadcasts
  • Government Documents
  • Business / Organization Documents
  • Maps & City Plans
  • Photographs & Images
  • Literary Texts (written during the time studied)
  • Memoirs & Autobiographes

Before You Begin Your Search

Some things to consider before searching for primary sources:

  1. Use a subject encyclopedia to discover key people, places, and concepts for your topic.
  2. Consider what types of primary sources are available on your topic.
  3. Are these sources published or unpublished? (Published will be easier to find through the library.)
  4. Could the sources have been made available in a different format or online?

Magazines & Journals as Primary Sources

Magazines, and journals were the primary vessels for sharing information prior to the advent of television and--perhaps to an even greater extent--the Internet. When read in a contemporary context, the articles published in these sources are generally considered to be secondary sources. When viewed after-the-fact, they can provide invaluable insight into the social, cultural, political, and intellectual climate of the time, and thus becomes primary source materials.

Finding Magazines and Journals

Use the Journals tab on the library homepage or go to the Journals search page to search for journals available either electronically or in print at Daemen. If you know the title of a periodical, you can simply type in the name of the journal.

Useful Print Indexes

Selected Databases

Finding Books

Find primary source books through the library catalog in the same way you would for secondary source books. See the Finding Books section of this guide for more information.

A book can be considered a primary source if the author was directly involved in an event or lived during a particular era that you are researching.