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National History Day: Types of Sources

Sources To Begin With

Begin with secondary sourcesto acquire background knowledge about your topic. Start with an encyclopedia article to get a broad overview.  Then, find a book or two in the library using school's Destiny Online Catalogto find books on your topic.This will enable you to narrow your topic further. This also will let you view other historians' opinions and compare and contrast them.

Secondary Source Resources

Search for books on your topic in the district  Destiny Online Catalog

Also, remember to browse the shelves in the section that may have books related to your topic.

Bedford Public Library

DATABASES:  Search for reputable history articles, encyclopedia entries, images, videos and more on our school's databases.  All usernames and passwords are the same for all databases.  Any questions: Please email Mrs. Detwiler or stop by the Media Center.

Username: lurgio    Password: lurgio


Gale: Student Resources in Context

Biography in Context

Britannica School Edition

Images:  Britannica Image Quest


Types of Sources

Secondary Sources

"A secondary source of information is one that was created later by someone who did not experience first-hand or participate in the events or conditions you’re researching.

Examples of secondary sources

For the purposes of an historical research project, secondary sources are research books and research journal articles.  Also included would be reference sources like encyclopedias."

Primary Sources

A primary source is generally defined as some kind of original material or data.

A primary source is a piece of information about an historical event or period in which the creator of the source was an actual participant in or a contemporary of a historical moment. The purpose of primary sources is to capture the words, the thoughts and the intentions of the past. Primary sources help you to interpret what happened and why it happened.

Examples of primary sources:

Primary sources include diaries and letters, interviews, speeches, documents, artifacts, eyewitness accounts, photographs, newspapers or magazines, videos or films, songs, or other written and tangible items created during the historical period you are studying."


Primary Source Resources

NHD Research Central        Primary Sources on the Web

Local NH Resources

Important Sites