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Primary Sources

A brief guide to the primary and select secondary sources that Elon University has available to you.

Examples of Primary Sources

The following list contains examples of the many formats of items that may be considered primary sources. 

  • Books and monographs
  • Correspondence (email, text messages, postcards, letters)
  • Dissertations
  • Government documents (reports, census data, testimony, laws, treaties)
  • Machine readable data files
  • Manuscripts and Archives, whether personal or family papers or  organizational records
  • Maps, architectural plans, and schematics
  • Moving Image Materials
  • Music
  • Objects and Artifacts
  • Printed Ephemera (leaflets, flyers, handbills, etc.)
  • Serials, including newspapers, periodicals, magazines, and scholarly  journals
  • Broadcast media, including tv and radio
  • Sound Recordings
  • Visual materials (prints, photographs, posters, artworks)