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The Otago LibGuides are changing! The system will undergo a major update from 17 June to 15 July. You can learn more by taking a look at our LibGuides prototype here.

History: Primary Sources

Primary sources are original sources of information, typically created at the time of the events or individual being researched. Primary sources can be:

  • Laws and Parliamentary Debates (Hansard)
  • Newspaper reports, by reporters who witnessed an event or who quote people who did
  • Speeches, diaries, letters and interviews - what the people involved said or wrote
  • Photographs, video, or audio that capture an event
  • Art, political cartoons, or literature from the time period
  • Census data or economic statistics
  • Original research

Secondary Sources add a layer of interpretation and analysis to primary sources, and are usually written after the time period being examined.

Primary Source Databases and Websites


   Aotearoa New Zealand

   Australia & Pacific



University of Otago Databases


Near & Middle East



Creative Commons Licence

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.