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Recommended Databases for World History

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Recommended Databases for US History

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What is a Primary and Secondary Source?

Primary sources are first-hand accounts or artifacts created during the time period of the event being studied. They are essential to History because they allow a researcher to get as close as possible to what happened during a historical event or period of time. Primary sources include: Secondary sources are created later and/or by someone who did not participate in the event being studied. Instead, secondary sources often interpret and analyze primary sources. Some common types of secondary sources include:
  • Books from the time period (ex: during the 1780s)
  • Letters, Diaries, and Memoirs
  • Newspapers and magazines from the time period
  • Official government publications from the time period
  • Organizational and company records
  • Photographs, drawings, and other images from the time period
  • Maps from the time
  • Textbooks
  • Newspaper articles from a different time period
  • Journal articles from a different time period
  • Criticisms
  • Commentaries
  • Encyclopedias

Recommended Primary Source Databases