In historiography, a primary source (also called original source) is a document, recording, artifact, or other source of information that was created at the time under study, usually by a source with direct personal knowledge of the events being described. It serves as an original source of information about the topic.
Primary sources are distinguished from secondary sources, which cite, comment on, or build upon primary sources, though the distinction is not a sharp one. "Primary" and "secondary" are relative terms, with sources judged primary or secondary according to specific historical contexts and what is being studied. [From Wikipedia]
To find primary sources at Stony Brook, use STARS, the Library Catalog.
You can include various words in your search that will help you locate primary source material. A good general word to include would be sources.
For example, if you are looking for primary sources on slavery, you can do a KEYWORD ANYWHERE search in STARS for salvery and sources.
Also try these Library of Congress subject headings that are often used for primary sources:
Primary source collections include:
Major Historical Sets
Index to Underground Newspaper Collection: Microforms Library Z6944.U5 B4 [1963-1985]
Alternative press. A guide to the microform collection Z6944.U5 B4 [1986-present]
Other Major Papers
Major Foreign Newspapers
Have historic newspapers for Long Island. Original newsprint copies and microfilm. Most but not all titles are in STARS. Consult with Kristen or Jason.
Card Catalog Drawer
Located at the Reference Desk. Indexes newspapers by state/region.
Over 1,100 American magazines spanning 200 years and covering nearly every aspect of American culture, especially its history, science, literature, music, legal structures, agriculture, theater, and politics. Titles range from Benjamin Franklin's General Magazine (first published in 1741) and America's first scientific journals, Medical Repository, as well as Scientific American, to literary and professional journals, specialized titles, and such well-known popular magazines as Vanity Fair, Ladies' Home Journal and The Dial.
Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature
To find magazine and journal articles between 1880 and 1980. Readers' Guide is located in the Central Reading Room (CRR). When you enter the CRR, it will be on the wall to your immediate left, at call number AI3 .R483.
Each volume of Readers' Guide is indexed by Subject. Under each subject, there will be a list of article titles, with abbreviations for the magazine or journal in which the article is located, the date of the issue, and the volume and page number(s).
When you find an article, you need to then check in STARS to see if the library has the magazine/journal for the date of the article. (I receommend using the JOURNAL CATALOG part of STARS. Once you find the magazine, check the "Summary Holdings" to see if we have the date you need.
For example, if you find an article from Time magazine from April 1957, search the JOURNAL CATALOG for Time. When you click on the link for Time, you will see various Summary Holdings for:
April 1957 would be available, then, in the Print version, which is located in the Main Stacks at call number AP2 .T37 OVERSIZE x.
You will also see a link for online versions. You can check this to see if the magazine/journal is available for your date. Please keep in mind, however, that most magazines and journals online will only go back to about 1980.
While JSTOR is often used for secondary sources, keep in mind that each journal in JSTOR goes back to its first issue. Many journals go back into the 19th century, and a few go back as far as the 17th and 18th centuries. So, it can also be used as a primary source.
In addition to having full-text copies of many pre-1923 books, Google Books also contains issues of various periodicals from the 19th and 20th centuries.
First issue of Life magazine from November 23, 1936.
Some of the major microforms that include historic magazines and journals are:
For more information on these collections, see the Microform Collections at Stony Brook section above.
There are an increasing number of excelent web sites that have audio-visual proimary source material.
Internet Archive - Probably the best overall collection of audio-visual material that could be used for primary sources. The Archive currently contains almost 400,000 moving images and nearly 700,000 audio items, along with software and other material.
YouTube - Great resource for finding speeches and hidtoric news items, as well as musical and cinematic trasures.