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Alameda County Library

Teens: Primary Sources

Primary Sources

What is a "primary source" anyway? Historians use the term "primary source" to distinguish original documents or accounts of events from second or third-hand statements about the original event or artifact. A photograph, a memoir or a letter is a primary source, while an essay or a textbook interpreting it is a secondary or tertiary source.

Most libraries have very little primary source material in their collections. The Web is increasingly a very good place to find primary sources.