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VIC184: Individuals and the Public Sphere: Cultural Memory

A guide to tools and resources to assist students engaged in archival research.

Primary Sources

Written by Elspeth H. Brown, Department of History, Univ. of Toronto.

From UTL, Writing about History:

A primary source is [an item or] document that was created at the time of the event or subject you've chosen to study, or by people who were observers of or participants in that event or topic....The medium of the primary source can be anything, including written texts, objects, buildings, films, paintings, cartoons, etc. What makes the source a "primary" source is when it was made not what it is.


Secondary Sources

From: Memorial University Library, Primary Sources Research Guide.

  • works that discuss a subject, but which are written after the time that the event(s) occurred - [by someone other than an eyewitness]

  • works that contain explanations/judgements/discussions of past events

  • works that explain or interpret primary sources