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Nathaniel P. Hill Library

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources can be found in library databases, in books and on the internet. Use the tabs and links below to search. 

  • Definition: A primary source is a first hand account from someone or something that was there at the time of the event. 
  • Examples: photograph, diary, speech, newspaper article, video footage, legal document, etc...

Locating Primary Sources

Each of these databases contain primary sources, but they must be sorted out from other types of sources. On your search results page, look for options to narrow your results by source type such as image, video, newspaper, or primary sources.

How do I find primary sources in books?

  • Often books contain excerpts or entire transcripts of primary source materials. When searching the Library Catalog or Ebook Central, look for subject headings that use the terms "personal narratives" or "sources."  These terms indicate there are primary sources located in a book. 
  • For assistance finding the book on the shelf, click here, or ask a librarian.

Locating Primary Sources on the Web 

Google Web Search

Enter your search term in the box above along with the existing text "primary source" and click search to find posted documents. 

Helpful websites include: