Skip to main content

History M141.Hopkins: Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Use the tabs below to locate books, databases, and websites covering African-American history from 1877 to the present

What is a primary source?

To find primary sources held at the the Moorpark College Library, perform a keyword search for your subject terms in the Library Catalog and add one of the following keyword(s): Archives, diaries, personal narratives, sources, and/or correspondence.

Example: African Americans sources, African American correspondence, etc.

Think of primary sources as original materials and observations. They are information sources that are close to an event, individual, or time period. Examples include:

  •  Diaries, letters, works of literature, original documents like a patent or an invention, birth certificate, scientific journal reporting original research, interview, speech, painting, treaty, raw data, film, novel, autobiography, blogs, email, discussion threads, minutes to a meeting,survey, photographs, manuscripts, journals, newspapers, memoirs, recordings, films, artifacs, tools, weapons, poem, short story.*

*American Library Association. Instruction & Research Services Committee of the Reference and User Service Association History Section. http://www.ala.org/rusa/sections/history/resources/primarysources

What is a secondary source?

Secondary sources review, comment, edit, interpret, analyze or summarize primary sources. The information has been created after an event and comment on the event or the original work itself. Be sure to examine secondary sources to insure that the information is reliable and credible.