Primary sources are the raw materials of history and include items such as diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news film footage, official records, autobiographies. Primary sources can also include creative works (poetry, drama, novels, art) or relics and artifacts (pottery, clothing, buildings, furniture).
Secondary sources interpret and analyze primary sources and are one or more steps removed from the event that is being reported. Examples include journal articles, which interpret or review previous findings; textbooks, criticisms; encyclopedias; commentaries.
Now is a terrific time to be researching history because more and more content from special collections and archives is now being made available on the web in digital format.