Primary sources are original materials produced at the time an event occurred or soon after, or at a later time by someone who was involved in, or who observed, the actual event.
These sources may be one-of-a-kind, and they present new information or report on discoveries or experiments. Primary sources become the "raw materials" for subsequent analysis, interpretation, or criticism.
Letters, manuscripts, speeches, interviews, oral histories
Diaries, journals, autobiographies or memoirs
Books, articles or newspaper reports written at the time of an event
Government records (census data, birth or death records, laws, parliamentary debates, treaties)
Legal documents (wills, judgements, trial transcripts)
Photographs, postcards, maps, recordings
Research data (results of experiments or clinical trials, survey responses, ethnography field notes)
Artifacts (tools, toys, household items, clothing, jewelry)
Patents, architectural plans, technical drawings
Literature, art, and other creative works (novels, poems, plays, films, music, performances, sculpture, paintings)
Internet communications (blogs, tweets, emails)