Skip to main content
University Libraries Breadcrumb Trail. Information Literacy Breadcrumb Trail. Information Formats Are Meaningful: Primary and Secondary Sources

Information Formats Are Meaningful: Primary and Secondary Sources

Another way sources might be categorized are primary versus secondary (and even tertiary). If you want to check your understanding of these terms, take a look at one of these resources. And if you are looking for actual primary sources, here’s a guide to get you started.


What is a Primary Source? (UC San Diego Library)

This video’s vivid depiction of sources of information on John F. Kennedy’s assassination illustrates the differences between primary and secondary.


Degrees of Separation Quest

Cat video, anyone? It’s a lead-in to an activity from the Metaliteracy Badging system that will walk you through primary and secondary sources, and introduce some conundrums about categorizing sources. The title, Degrees of Separation, refers to how close one is to the information, and may be a useful way to think about primary vs. secondary. Contact Trudi Jacobson for details on how to take full advantage of the interactive features of this site.


The following two guides provide a quick review of what types of sources are considered primary vs. secondary in different disciplines.

Primary and Secondary Sources for the Humanities and Social Science
Primary and Secondary Sources for Science


Back to Main Playlist | Back to Path One: Scholarly Sources

Back to Information Literacy Home
Back to University Libraries Home