"Primary sources are original records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories. Primary sources may include letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, newspapers, speeches, interviews, memoirs, documents produced by government agencies such as Congress or the Office of the President, photographs, audio recordings, moving pictures or video recordings, research data, and objects or artifacts such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons. These sources serve as the raw material to interpret the past, and when they are used along with previous interpretations by historians, they provide the resources necessary for historical research."
Source: American Library Association. Reference and Users Services Assn. Using Primary Sources on the Web. http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/rusa/sections/history/resources/pubs/usingprimarysources/index.cfm#defining
The American Library Association has provided a wonderful document instructing students and researchers in both finding and using Primary Resources. This website guides the user in both evaluating and finding pertinent documents and sources.This guide is prepared by the Reference and Users Services Association of the ALA.
This guide is intended to help students locate primary source materials.