History: Middle East

Resources for researching topics in history

Middle East

What is a Primary Source?

Primary sources are "fundamental, authoritative documents relating to a subject, ...e.g., original records, contemporary documents, etc." (Young, Heartsill, ed. The ALA Glossary of Library and Information Science. Chicago: American Library Association, 1983, p.176). Primary source documents are first-hand accounts by a direct participant or observer and may include letters, diaries, interviews, photographs, films, maps, government documents, and more.

For the arts, history, and humanities, original primary source documents usually are housed in museums, archives, restricted library collections, and government offices. Reproductions of primary source documents often can be found in online digital collections, microform collections, books, and other secondary works.

For the sciences, primary sources usually refer to original accounts of a research study. Find a fuller explanation in the SUNY Albany resource below.

Relevant Database Limiters

In addition to the example shown below, check database document type limiters for relevant categories such as speech or interview.

Example search in Academic Search Complete for primary source documents.  Example search: Jefferson Thomas in the first search box with AU Author selected from the drop-down list. Within the options for "limit your results", "Primary Source Document" is selected from the options for "Publication Type". This will return inaugural addresses and letters that are included in "Essential Documents in American History".

Bayou Building 2402, 2700 Bay Area Blvd, Houston, TX 77058-1002