Skip to Main Content

The Legacy of Mesoamerica: ANTH / LAS 2098 / HIST 3096

Find resources for information literacy assignments and final research paper

Introduction: What are Primary Sources?

What are Primary Sources?

"Primary sources provide firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic or question under investigation."

- Source: Yale University.

The definition of a primary sources varies by discipline, and includes historical letters and diaries, government documents, works of art and literature, data from a scientific experiment, findings from an archeological dig, and oral history recordings to name just a few examples. It is content which has not been analyzed or interpreted by scholars or researchers.

See this chart from Yale University for more examples of primary sources by academic discipline.

Primary Source Collections

The databases listed below contain both primary and secondary source materials.

Find Printed Primary Sources at Temple

  • Use the Library Search and enter keywords on your research topic.
  • Use the Genre filter at the left and limit to the terms Sources, Personal Narratives, Correspondence, or Diaries to limit to primary sources.
  • A sample subject heading for primary sources on the Mexican Revolution is: Mexico -- History -- Revolution, 1910-1920 -- Sources
  • Try the subject links in the records for any useful items you find. These will take you to additional primary sources on the same topic.

Newspaper Databases

Primary Source Literature: Popol Vuh

Sometimes called the "Maya Bible," the Popol Vuh -- available in print and online from Mesoweb -- consists of a series of texts that provide a window into the autochthonous literary traditions of ancient Mesoamerica.

Popol Vuh Online

Click here to watch a Chilean animated film adaptation of the Popol Vuh created for young people (streaming video from TULibraries' database, Ethnographic Video Online).

Primary & Secondary Sources Tutorial