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Primary and Secondary Resources
Transcript of Primary and Secondary Resources
Why is this Important?
Primary 1. a. Earliest, Original
"People use original, first-hand accounts as building blocks to create stories from the past. These accounts are called primary sources, because they are the first evidence of something happening, or being thought or said. Primary sources are created at the time of an event, or very soon after something has happened. These sources are often rare or one-of-a-kind. However,
some primary sources can also exist in many copies
, if they were popular and widely available at the time that they were created."
Secondary a. 1. Next in place or time
"Second-hand, published accounts are called secondary sources. They are called secondary sources because they are created after primary sources and they often use or talk about primary sources. Secondary sources can give additional opinions (sometimes called bias) on a past event or on a primary source. Secondary sources often have many copies, found in libraries, schools or homes."
CAUTION! It can be confusing.
MANY sources can be either primary or secondary
newspapers (first account or second?)
magazines (interviews = primary)
Determining primary or secondary can also depend on what you are researching. I.e. a blog post about a tv show is a secondary source if you are investigating the tv show but a primary source if you are researching social media about the TV show.
Primary sources are original records created by witnesses or artifacts from the event. Secondary are created by someone who uses or references primary records to create additional sources of knowledge of the event.
Both are important
. Secondary can be more subject to bias and individual research in interpretation of events. It is important to use both to gain a wider perspective and gain your own sense of interpreting events.
"A German historian, over 100 years ago, said it was important to write about the past, "as it really happened." Most people today agree that it is impossible to know what exactly happened in history. (Most people can't remember exactly what happened last week, let alone a long time ago!) However, if we aren't careful about the facts, we can really make a mess and even create some big lies about the past.
Think of it like playing the telephone game...It works for the first little while, but the chance of someone getting it wrong increases with the number of people who repeat it. Going back to primary sources is like going back to the first person in the telephone game.
Doing research is all about trust. If you trust the person who created a secondary source, then there isn't a problem about using it. However, if you don't trust that person, if you think their version is a exaggerated or biased, or if you want to see the original evidence for yourself, then you have to go to the primary sources."
By Michael Eamon, historian and archivist, Library and Archives Canada
This Prezi may contain copyrighted materials used under fair use exemption
Eamon, Michael. Library and,Archives Canada. Toolkit; Defining Primary and Secondary Resources. http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/education/008-3010-e.html Web. 18 November 2013.
Neely, Teresa Y. Information literacy assessment; Standards-based tools and assignments, Chicago: American Library Association, 2006. 34-36. Print.
Teaching Primary and Secondary Resources. The George W, Bush Presidential Library and Museum. 2011. Web. 3. 15 November 2013.
Primary vs. Secondary Sources. The Hartness Library CCV/Vermont Tech. 1 Aug 2012. Slide program
What is a Primary Source. Geisel Production Web series. UCSD Libraries; Social Sciences and Humanities Library. Youtube Video. Uploaded May 8, 2008. 20 November 2014.
Newspapers - Primary Source? Youtube video. Uploaded July 2, 2009. 20 November 2014.
—oral histories or memoirs, interviews, music
—photographs, videos, film, fine art, video games
—clothing (fashion or uniforms), tools, pottery, gravestones, inventions, weapons, memorabilia
—census data, population statistics, weather records
—letters, diaries, original documents, legal agreements, treaties, maps, laws, advertisements, recipes,
genealogical information, sermons/lectures
"A primary source is any source from the time period being studied"