Generally speaking, primary sources are original materials created at the time an event occurs and are directly associated with their producer (or user). They serve as the raw materials researchers use to analyze and interpret the past.
Note that primary sources for the historian or humanities scholar studying World War II are different from those for a research scientist investigating a new drug for arthritis. The humanities scholar's primary sources are the diaries, government documents, interviews, letters, or and/or speeches of the era. The research scientist's primary sources are the results of laboratory tests or clinical trial medical records of patients treated with the drug.
Examples of primary sources in the humanities can include, but are not limited to:
Primary sources may be available in many different formats:
You may need to explore several different mediums and locations to discover relevant primary sources for your research.
The collections of the UCF Libraries include government documents, letters, diaries, photographs, and autobiographies collected in books (monographs). When performing a search in Primo, the UCF Libraries Catalog, select on the drop-down menu labeled “ - Pick Search Scope -” the option "Library Catalog," and include terms that describe primary sources such as: