Metadata Input Guidelines: Primary Source
The primary source field designates firsthand accounts of historical subjects.
Where Can the Primary Source Information be Found?
- Whether or not an item is a primary source is determined by examining the item
- For our purposes, primary sources are firsthand accounts or archival copies of historical items
How Primary Source Works in the Metadata Form
- 1. N/A – radio button
- 2. Yes – radio button
- 3. No – radio button
- No - also see more information about required fields
How Should Primary Source be Filled in?
- If the resource is a primary source, click the radio button marked “Yes” on the metadata entry form
- If the resource is not a primary source, click the radio button marked “No”
- If the item contains components that are both primary and secondary, choose “No” and include a note
- If it is unclear whether the item is a primary source or if it cannot be determined, choose the radio button marked “N/A” (not applicable)
Is the item a primary source?
|Primary Source||Not a Primary Source|
|a personal collection of original school photographs||yearbooks|
|journal article written in 1943 about WWII||journal article written in 2008 about WWII|
|original census data published by the government||written history that quotes census numbers|
For more clarification about a particular item:
- See if the item fits one of the example categories in the next section
- Try reading the Scholars’ Definitions of Primary Sources
- Diaries, personal journals, letters, memos, postcards, manuscripts, memoirs, autobiographies, oral histories
- Private papers, deeds, wills
- Speeches, interviews, personal accounts, oral histories
- Documentary photographs, audio recordings, movies, or videos
- Government records, proceedings, court records, census data, patents
- Records of organizations (e.g. minutes, reports, correspondence)
- Public opinion polls, consumer surveys
- Scientific experiments, field notes, artifacts, schematic drawings, technical reports
- City directories
- Paintings, sculptures, jewelry
- Published materials (books and magazine/newspaper articles) written AT THE TIME about a particular event
- Reprinted primary sources (often in reference books such as Speeches of the American Presidents or Documents of American History)
- To describe the category of the resource, use the Resource Type element.
- Scholars’ Definitions of Primary Sources