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Concord Middle School Library

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Primary Source Resources

Infotopia: a comprehensive list of primary source websites

Fedflixfeaturing the best movies of the United States Government, training films to history, national parks to the U.S. Fire Academy and the Postal Inspectors, all of them are available for reuse without any restrictions

FBI: The Vault:  A new electronic reading room, containing more than 3,000 documents that have been scanned from paper into digital copies

Digital Media Repository: online access to a variety of primary source materials, including photographs, oral history interviews, artwork, video and film footage, cartographic resources, architectural drawings, publications, and 3-dimensional objects

(Click on the links to access website)           

Library of Congress - Using Primary Sources: An excellent guide and resource for teaching primary sources in the classroom


National Archives - Document Analysis Worksheets: Document analysis worksheets designed and developed by the Education Staff of the National Archives and Records Administration.  Thousands of documents are also available throughout sections of the National Archives website.

National Archives - Digital VaultsBring history to life with over 15 billion documents available in the digital vaults

Docs Teach: Ready to use tools and activities to teach primary sources in the classroom

[picture source: docsTeach,]

Primary and secondary sources are used to learn about the past.

Primary Sources

A primary source is a document, speech, or other sort of evidence written, created or otherwise produced during the time under study. Primary sources offer an inside view of a particular event. Examples include:

  • Original Documents: Autobiographies, diaries, e-mail, interviews, letters, minutes, news film footage, official records, photographs, raw research data, speeches.
  • Creative Works: Art, drama, films, music, novels, poetry.
  • Relics or Artifacts: Buildings, clothing, DNA, furniture, jewelry, pottery.

 Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without first hand experience. They provide interpretation and analysis of primary sources. Secondary sources are one step removed from the original event. 


[source: "What is a Primary Source?" University of Nevada, Reno.