Understanding primary sources
If you are seeking to learn about the past, primary sources of information are those that provide first-hand accounts of the events, practices, or conditions you are researching. In general, these are documents that were created by the witnesses or first recorders of these events at about the time they occurred, and include diaries, letters, reports, photographs, creative works, financial records, memos, and newspaper articles (to name just a few types).
Primary sources also include first-hand accounts that were documented later, such as autobiographies, memoirs, and oral histories. However, the most useful primary sources are usually considered to be those that were created closest to the time period you’re researching.
Determining which kinds of documents constitute primary sources depends upon the topic you’re researching. (For example, sometimes the same book or article could be considered a primary source for one research topic and a secondary source for a different topic.)
For Example: The paiting of Washington Crossing The Delaware, by Emanuel Leutze was painted in 1851.
This paiting is both a primary and secondary source depending on what you are researching.
It is a primary source if you are studying the painter Emanuel Leutze or art and paintings from the late 19th centurary.
It is a secondary source if you are studying the American Revolution or the actual event of Washington crossing the Delaware, this is because the events depicted in the painting took place in 1776, over 50 years before the painting was painted. Emanuel Leutze was not present for the events he is depicting so it cannot be a primary source for those events.
Castro Speech Database - LANIC
Digital Libraries of Rare Books in Spain
This database includes speeches, interviews, etc., by Fidel Castro from 1959 to 1996. All texts are in English. If you would like more recent speeches or texts in Spanish, please consult Discursos e Intervenciones de Fidel Castro
Dissertations and Theses Global (ProQuest)
List of libraries with digitalized rare books.
Gallica Digital Library (BnF) : Presse et Revues
Provides citations, abstracts, and full-text, when available, of dissertations and theses from 1743 to the present.
MLA Literary Research Guide
Bibliothèque nationale de France's (BnF) digital project, "Gallica focuses primarily on works about France, in the French language, and published in France" providing access to "the first complete collections of authors (in literature, philosophy, and other fields)" reflecting the "vital scholarly movement in France, especially in the field of history."
Sabin Americana, 1500-1926 (Gale)
The Literary Research Guide
is a selective, annotated guide to reference sources essential to the study of British literature, literatures of the United States, other literatures in English, and related topics. The scope and organization of the content are described in the introduction. To begin working, use one of the tabs above.
Offers digital access to books, pamphlets, serials, and other sources documenting the history of the Americas published worldwide from 1500 to the early 20th century. Titles were selected based on Joseph Sabin's Bibliotheca Americana
Liaison Librarian for English Literature, Theatre, and Romance Languages and Literature
Falvey Library, Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Sarah Wingo is available for research consultations, instruction, curricular support & purchase requests.
Click on the button below to schedule a research appointment.