Telling OUR Stories: An Oral History and Design Thinking Project

This guide was created for the students from Cross County, Arkansas who are participating in the DIVE experience at Vanderbilt.

Primary Sources in the Library

A primary source is a document or other sort of evidence written or created during the time under study, or by one of the persons or organizations directly involved in the event. Primary sources offer an inside view of a particular event. Some types are:

Original Documents (excerpts or translations acceptable)

  • Diaries
  • Speeches
  • Letters
  • Interviews
  • News film footage
  • Autobiographies

Creative Works

  • Drama
  • Novels
  • Music
  • Art
  • Films

Relics or Artifacts

  • Jewelry
  • Pottery
  • Furniture
  • Clothing

This excellent video succinctly explains the difference between primary and secondary sources. Complete with examples and tips on how to locate primary resources in the library.