Login to LibApps

Primary Sources: Home

This guide will provide access and links to the substantial and ever-growing wealth of primary sources available through ASU Libraries or freely-accessible through the Internet
Subjects: History

How to Reach Me

Please feel free to contact me by telephone (480) 965-4579 or email: edding@asu.edu.  My office number is Hayden C1T.  If you'd like to make an appointment, please feel free to do so.  

What are Primary Sources

Primary sources are the historical documents used by historians as evidence. Examples of primary sources include diaries, personal journals, government records, court records, property records, newspaper articles, military reports, military rosters, and many other things.

In contrast, a secondary source is the typical history book which may discuss a person, event or other historical topic. A good secondary source uses primary sources as evidence.

The key to determining whether an item may be considered to be a primary source is to ask how soon after the event was the information recorded. This can be a problem with an autobiography, memoir, reminiscence, etc. if the author is working several years with only the memory of what happened. Your history professor will disallow most or all of these as primary sources.   However, the rule of thumb should always be:  if you're not sure whether something is an acceptable primary source, ask your professor.

Subject Guide

Ed Oetting
My office is located in Hayden Library Room C1T.
Call me at 480-965-4579
Arizona State University Libraries

ASU Libraries

Arizona State University
P.O. Box 871006
Tempe, AZ 85287
Phone: 480-965-3605

Federal Depository Library Program Emblem

Hours & Locations