RUSA (Reference and User Services Association) Primary Sources on the Web: Finding, Evaluating, Using
This brief guide is designed to help students and researchers find and evaluate primary sources available online.
Keep in mind as you use this website, the Web is always changing and evolving. If you have questions, please consult your instructor or librarian.
Primary sources are the evidence of history, original records or objects created by participants or observers at the time historical events occurred or even well after events, as in memoirs and oral histories. Primary sources may include but are not limited to: letters, manuscripts, diaries, journals, newspapers, maps, speeches, interviews, documents produced by government agencies, photographs, audio or video recordings, born-digital items (e.g. emails), research data, and objects or artifacts (such as works of art or ancient roads, buildings, tools, and weapons). These sources serve as the raw materials historians use to interpret and analyze the past.