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Primary And Secondary Sources: Primary and Secondary Sources

Canadian Encyclopedia


British Columbia Encyclopedia

World Book Advanced

Includes Primary Source documents for some articles

Canadian History Primary Source Documents

Canada History

This site contains many links as well as primary documents. The information is organized by topic and by era.

Canadian Pamphlets

Pre 1930 Canadian pamphlets on many topics. Primary Documents

Canada's Human Rights History - Primary Sources

Human Rights in Canada: A Historical Perspective - Women's Rights

What are Primary Source Documents?

A Primary Source is a document, record, or work created at the time of an event or by a person who directly experienced an event.  A Primary Source contains original data and is from the time period being researched; it has not yet been filtered through interpretation.


  • Artifacts (e.g. coins, plant specimens, fossils, furniture, tools, clothing, all from the time under study)
  • Audio Recordings (e.g. radio programs)
  • Diaries
  • Interviews
  • Letters
  • Newspaper Articles
  • Photographs
  • Speaches
  • Video Recordings
  • Works of art, architecture, literature, and music (e.g., paintings, sculptures, musical scores, buildings, novels, poems).


      University of Maryland Libaries.  (2013).  Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources.  Retrieved from

      University of Victoria Libraries.  (2013).  Primary or Secondary Sources.  Retrieved from

*The above references are in APA format.

What are Secondary Sources?

A Secondary Source is an account written after the fact with the benefit of hindsight.  A Secondary Source usually describes, interprets, summarizes, analyzes, evaluates, is derived from, or is based on Primary Source materials.


  • Books and Textbooks about past events/people
  • Biographies
  • Historical films
  • Music and art about a past events/person
  • Articles about past events/people


   University of Maryland Libraries.  (2013).  Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources.  Retrieved from

   University of Victoria Libraries.  (2013).  Primary or Secondary Sources.  Retrieved from

Featured Websites

Archives Canada: Your Gateway to Canada's Past

Use the View option halfway down the main screen to look at digital collection images.

Archives Association of British Columbia

Canada in the Making: Primary Sources

News Sources

CBC Digital Archives

This site contains selected television and radio footage from the Archives of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The collection dates back to 1927 and includes news footage and interviews.

Democracy at War:  Canadian Newspapers and the Second World War

This collection of more than 144,000 Canadian newspaper articles includes news stories and editorials that document every aspect of the war.

Oral Histories, Diaries, Letters

Canadian Letters and Images Project

An online archive of the Canadian war experience, as told through the letters and images of Canadians themselves. The collection includes correspondence, diaries, photographs, postcards, and other miscellaneous items.