University of New England - Innovation for a Healthier Planet

Research Help

Primary Sources in the Humanities

Primary sources in the humanities and social sciences are original documents created during or shortly after the events they discuss. They document individual experiences, opinions, and observations of events and allow researchers to understand more about what it was like to live through an event or historical period. Primary sources can be current or historical; most materials held in the our archives and special collections are primary sources.

Learn more about using archives in your research.


  • letters or email
  • diaries, blogs, memoirs, or autobiographies
  • letters
  • interviews or oral histories
  • photographs
  • videos or films
  • works of art
  • government documents
  • personal papers
  • newspapers


Primary sources can be found in the archivesresearch databases, and online if evaluated carefully.  Find research databases and other recommended sources in research by subject or choose one of the following:

Questions & Help

If you have questions on this, or another, topic, contact a librarian for help!

For information about UNE’s archival collections see the collection website.