The internet can be tricky! Before using a primary document (or any item on the web) you need to determine who created the website and if the material is accurate. Sometimes sites manipulate or alter primary source materials to persuade or influence viewers. Some sites might not properly cite materials. Here are some guidelines to help you determine credibilty.
Who created the website?
Primary sources are records of events created when the event occurred such as:
|• letters||• journals|
|• diaries||• manuscripts|
|• newspapers||• interviews|
|• photographs||• oral histories|
|• memoirs||• government documents|
|• audio recordings||• video recordings|
|• artwork||• statistics/data|
|• artifacts/ephemera||• court records|
Sometimes primary sources reflect the events after they have occurred such as in the case of oral histories or memoirs.
These sources serve as the raw material to interpret the past, and when they are used along with secondary sources (previous interpretations) they provide the resources necessary for historical research.
Secondary sources offer analysis and interpretations of primary sources. They might use primary sources to persuade a reader to hold a certain opinion.