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Academics / Information Commons

Practicing Source-ery

Sidney Silverman Library at Bergen Community College (NJ) offers a straightforward definition of the difference between primary and secondary sources. "Primary sources are original materials such as autobiographies, poems, diaries, documents, research articles, original data, or an original creation such as a piece of art."  Materials that "describe, explain or interpret primary sources," they explain, are secondary sources. "These include literature criticism, biographies, books about a topic, reviews, encyclopedias and dictionaries."

In Primary vs. Secondary, they also provide this useful checklist of examples:

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

autobiography

biography

painting or object of art

article reviewing or criticizing the art

personal diary or letters

book about the person or event

treaty (government document)

essay interpreting the document

poem, novel, short story, etc.

literary criticism of the work

firsthand observer accounts of event

report on event years later

play, film, television show, performance

biography of the writer

speech given by a person

commentary on the speech

research report by researchers

interpretation of the research

photographs

explanation of photographs

Contact Academics
Ben Kirby ’00
Assistant Principal of Academics
972-387-8700 x560
bkirby@jesuitcp.org

CONTACT THE INFORMATION COMMONS

Mark Wester
Info Commons Director
mwester@jesuitcp.org

INFORMATION COMMONS HOURS

7:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Monday - Friday

STUDENTS

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