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HST 494 Conquest & Encounters in Colonial Latin America - Sarreal

History Resources covering North America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East

Primary Sources

Primary Sources:
The definition of primary sources depends on the academic discipline and the context in which it is used. In the humanities, "Primary resources provide firsthand evidence of historical events. They are generally unpublished materials such as:
  • manuscripts,
  • photographs,
  • maps,
  • artifacts,
  • audio and video recordings,
  • oral histories,
  • postcards,
  • and posters.

In some instances, published materials can also be viewed as primary materials for the period in which they were written."

Credit: UCLA Institute on Primary Sources

Historians use primary sources as evidence. Additional examples of primary sources are diaries, personal journals, government records, court records, property records, military reports, and military rosters.

Secondary Sources:
In contrast, a secondary source is the typical history book which may discuss or analyze a person's life or work, an event or another historical topic. Secondary sources are accounts or interpretations of events by a person who doesn't have firsthand knowledge of the event. A good secondary source uses primary sources as evidence.

Searching JSTOR Handout


Listed below are some relevant databases for locating journal articles & other resources:

Full-text access to journals across the disciplines

Covers the world's scholarly literature in history. Includes full-text articles on the history of the world from 1450 to the present, except for the United States and Canada
Humanities Full Text    1984-
Full text articles published in variety of subjects in the humanities including history
A multidisciplinary database which provides full-text for over 4,650 scholarly publications, more than 3,600 of them peer-reviewed. Includes topics in the social sciences, humanities, general science, education and most areas of academic study. Abstracts and indexing provided for 8,200 journals in the collection. Covers a wide range of academic subjects


Use the Library One Search to discover books and other resources. If you have a specific book title you can also search the ASU Library Catalog.

The ASU Library has books in print or online [e-book].  The best resource for finding e-books is Library One Search.  For information and help, check out the Find E-Book page. This page not only has help about searching, it has direct links to specific e-book collections.

Other Resources

More detailed information about primary sources can be found in this LibGuide: Primary Sources

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