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SMU Libraries

History of Science: Primary Sources

Overview of primary resources

A primary source is "first-hand" information, sources as close as possible to the origin of the information or idea under study. Often these sources are created at the time when the events or conditions are occurring, but primary sources can also include autobiographies, memoirs, and oral histories recorded later.

Primary sources are contrasted with secondary sources, works that provide analysis, commentary, or criticism on the primary source. Tertiary sources are collections of primary and/or secondary sources.

In historical studies, primary sources include written works, recordings, or other source of information from people who were participants or direct witnesses to the events in question. Examples of commonly used primary sources include government documents, memoirs, personal correspondence, oral histories, and contemporary newspaper accounts.

General Science


Biological sciences

Exploring and Collecting History Online (ECHO)

ECHO includes links to more than 5,000 websites relating to the History of Science, Technology, and Industry. Use the links below to access the website's main page where you can jump to links, Browse by Categories link to browse all websites by category, or Search Funciton to search ECHO for websites that include a specific word or phrase.

Scientist papers and manuscripts

The use of electronic resources must comply with the Appropriate Use of Electronic Resources Policy and Singapore Management University Acceptable Use Policy