Primary sources are used as evidence to support an interpretation or argument. With that in mind, a primary source is typically an item written or created during the time period under study and created by someone with a first-hand experience. Examples may include:
Contrast these with secondary sources, which interpret and analyze primary sources.
Finally, a tertiary source is one that synthesizes a body of secondary sources, usually to explain the range of arguments scholars have had on a topic (e.g. literature review), or to provide the reader with generally agreed upon facts and understanding (e.g. encyclopedias, textbooks).
But wait! Scholars working on the history of education might use textbooks as evidence for how subjects were taught in a particular time period. In this case, the textbooks become evidence of educational practice, and would be considered primary sources for this project.
The Center For Research Libraries (CRL)
Tulane University faculty, staff, and students have free and unlimited use of the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) collections, available via InterLibrary Loan. CRL supports advanced research and teaching in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences by preserving and making available to scholars the primary source material critical to those disciplines.
Use the links below to see CRL records related to a given location of interest. You can then limit/modify the search for specific research needs.