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Primary sources  

Primary source databases for Modern History
Last Updated: Apr 4, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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This study guide groups Primary Sources by subject.

Each tab contains our recommended resources and includes some information about the coverage.


What are primary sources?

Historical photo

Hans Weingartz Leonce49

"Primary sources provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. They are created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events or conditions being documented. Often these sources are created at the time when the events or conditions are occurring, but primary sources can also include autobiographies, memoirs, and oral histories recorded later."

 - Yale University, Primary Sources at Yale 2008

Primary sources can include:

  • Newspaper articles
  • Photographs
  • Diary entries
  • Letters
  • Speeches
  • Pamphlets
  • Court files
  • And more...

A quick guide to using Primary sources from the DoHistory website.

Links and more

There are more primary sources available online and in the library. Here are some helpful links for online sources:

  • Trove
    The National Library of Australia provides access to historical Australian newspapers, photographs and more through Trove.
  • Search Macquarie University Museum Collections
    Macquarie University Museums hold a number of primary sources. This link provides the ability to search the index, with some images available online.
  • Newspaper databases
    The library subscribes to a number of newspapers for historical and current newspapers.
  • Sydney Oral Histories
    The City of Sydney Oral Histories project provides free online access to oral histories from Sydney residents.
  • More information on finding news sources
    Try our Media libguide for more information on news sources in the library.

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