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Research Guides

Primary Sources: Getting Started

Welcome to our Guide to Primary Sources

This guide is intended to help users to identify, locate, and use primary sources in their research.

Map of the Coeur d'Alene mining region, 1899 & 1909; Couer D'Alene Mining RegionFrom the Idaho Historical Map Collection, UI Library Digital Initiatives. 

Primary Sources in the UI Library

Primary Sources 
on the Web

Citing Primary Sources





What are Primary & Secondary Sources?

Primary Sources are works that contain firsthand information or original data on a topic, such as:

  • Letters & Diaries
  • First-person Accounts
  • Speeches
  • Images & Maps
  • Newspaper Clippings
  • Recorded Sounds
  • Films & Sheet Music
  • Artifacts & Memoirs
  • Oral Histories
  • Interviews
  • Government Documents
  • Public Records.

Secondary Sources are works that are one step removed from the primary source that summarize or evaluate the primary source, such as:

  • Reviews & Critiques
  • Second-person accounts
  • Biography or Histories

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