Librarian for History
Librarian for English/Comparative Literature
Carolina BLU Campus Delivery Service
Through the Carolina BLU Delivery Service, you can request to have books and articles available at any of the UNC-CH campus libraries, as well as books and articles requested through interlibrary loan, delivered to the campus library most convenient to you.
About This Guide
This is a selective guide to finding primary source materials for historical research. The University Libraries maintain rich collections of primary sources in print, microform, and electronic formats. Additionally, there are hundreds of collections of primary source materials available on the Web, and more are added every day. Because there is no single comprehensive database of primary sources, you may need to explore different strategies for locating resources of interest.
What are Primary Sources?
Primary sources are often referred to as "first hand" accounts or "original" records. They are the evidence historians use to build interpretations of the past. Most primary sources are created at the time an historical event occurred, while others, such as autobiographies, are produced long after the events they describe. Among the many types of materials that may be primary sources are: letters, diaries, speeches, newspaper articles, autobiographies, oral histories, government and organizational records, statistical data, maps, photographs, motion pictures, sound recordings, advertisements, and artifacts.
Guides for Finding and Using Primary Sources
Making Sense of Evidence
This site includes strategies for analyzing various types of primary source materials and interviews/case studies with leading scholars. From History Matters.
Using Primary Sources on the Web
This guide from the American Library Association discusses the nature of primary sources, how to find them, and how to evaluate them.