Primary sources are usually documentary materials or records that are contemporary to the event. Normally they are first hand accounts or actual records that have survived. Types of primary sources include diaries, letters, photographs, first hand newspaper accounts, audio or video footage, or other items that may have survived the historical period.
Many government documents are considered primary sources including messages and papers of the presidents, house and senate journals, foreign affair documents, hearings, reports, and statistical data.
Libraries and archives are primary resources for historical documents and you should always take advantage of the local catalog. Since the inception of the Internet many primary sources have migrated to digital form and are available for use by a wider range of researchers. Unfortunately many of the digital sources are part of what is known as the "deep web" or web sites that are not easily indexed by search engines such as Google.
This Libguide will attempt to point out some of the major websites and databases containing primary source material.