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What is a Primary Source?

Citing Primary Sources

Preferred citation:

[Item Description], [Collection Title], Box [number], Folder [number], Boise State University Special Collections and Archives

Additional citation help:

Citing Primary Sources (Library of Congress)

Citing Miscellaneous Sources (Yale University)

Google Search Tips

Add the words: records, papers, archives, digital collection

‚ÄčAdd the limit "site:.[domain]". For example, adding "" will limit to government websites/information. .gov, .edu, and .org are good limits.

International topics: add a country code limit and use Google translate.


Archives: 1. Materials created or received by a person, family, or organization in the conduct of their affairs. 2. A repository that collects the records of individuals, families, or other organizations.

Finding Aid: A collection description to provide access to and understand the materials.

Manuscripts: Handwritten or unpublished document.

Personal Papers: Documents created, acquired, or received by an individual or family in the course of his/her/their affairs.

Records: Written or printed works of a legal or official nature that may be used as evidence or proof, created by organizations or corporations.