Skip to Main Content

What is a Primary Source?

In history, a primary source is usually a record made at the time of an event by participants or by firsthand observers. Examples include books and other materials from the time period, newspaper or magazine accounts from the time period, government materials from the time period. Because historians cite their primary sources, look at their bibliographies to locate sources for your own research.

For a more complete listing of primary sources available at OU see this guide.

newspapers box

Finding Digital Sources Not Listed Here

Many libraries and other institutions have digitized materials and made them available on the internet. See this page for some directories.
Or, try a search in Google with the phrase "digital collections" (including the quotation marks) and keywords that describe your topic.


Add back ARTFL


19th c collections

carib hist cult

Government Documents

See this page for a more complete list.

Other Sources

OU Microforms

There is a significant collection of primary source material reproduced on microfilm or microfiche. See this guide. Most microforms are in off-site storage, and must be requested via Sooner Xpress