Historical source

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Historical source is an original source that contains important historical information.[citation needed] These sources are something that inform us about history at the most basic level, and are used as clues in order to study history.[citation needed]

The main historical sources are documents, and other sources that include writing such as coins, inscriptions, monuments, and literary sources. Modern history also draws on paintings, recorded sounds, images, and oral history.[citation needed].

Additionally historians may make use archaeological sources such as artifacts, sites, and features.

With influence from anthropology some historians now also think of living oral traditions as historical sources.

The types of sources include primary sources, secondary sources and other historians added tertiary sources.[citation needed]


Primary source[edit]

In the study of history as an academic discipline, a primary source (also called an original source) is an artifact, document, diary, manuscript, autobiography, recording, or any other source of information that was created at the time under study.

A primary source is a first hand account of events by someone who lived through them.

Secondary source[edit]

In scholarship, a secondary source[1][2] is a document or recording that relates or discusses information originally presented elsewhere.

A secondary source is one that gives information about a primary source. In a secondary source, the original information is selected, modified and arranged in a suitable format. Secondary sources involve generalization, analysis, interpretation, or evaluation of the original information.

Tertiary source[edit]

A tertiary source is an index or textual consolidation of already published primary and secondary sources[3] that does not provide additional interpretations or analysis of the sources.[4][5] Some tertiary sources can be used as an aid to find key (seminal) sources, key terms, general common knowledge[6] and established mainstream science on a topic. The exact definition of tertiary varies by academic field.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Primary, secondary and tertiary sources". University Libraries, University of Maryland.
  2. ^ "Secondary sources Archived 2014-11-06 at the Wayback Machine". James Cook University.
  3. ^ Primary, secondary and tertiary sources. Archived 2013-07-03 at the Wayback Machine". University Libraries, University of Maryland. Retrieve 07/26/2013
  4. ^ "Tertiary Information Sources". Old Dominion University -- ODU Libraries. September 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Tertiary sources Archived 2014-11-06 at the Wayback Machine". James Cook University.
  6. ^ "Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Resources". University of New Haven.