Answered By: Coe Library Help Desk
Last Updated: Mar 10, 2016     Views: 16

Primary sources provide first-hand evidence or testimony concerning a topic under investigation. They are created by witnesses to events or other people who experienced events. Usually these sources are created at the time the events or conditions occur. However, primary sources include autobiographies, memoirs, photographs, government documents, and oral histories recorded after the event. Research scientists also provide primary sources. Depending on your field of study, a primary source might also be an original scientific experiment or anthropological fieldwork. Primary sources are not books or articles that conduct secondary analysis of material, or describe something that happened somewhere else. 

Primary sources are characterized by their content, regardless of whether they are available in original format, in microfilm/microfiche, in digital format, or in published format. Primary sources can be found in nearly every collection at the University of Wyoming Libraries. If you are having difficulty locating primary sources, consult with the Research Help Desk or Liaison Librarians.

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