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La Follette Library Portal: Primary & Secondary Sources

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Sources Online

World History

Speeches/Oral History

Speeches/Oral History

Don't forget to CITE your sources!

You can use EasyBib to help you CITE your sources (If you create an account using your email account, you can have free access to the full EasyBib web site, save your notes and citations, and share them with teachers or export them to your Google drive.)

For more information on how to cite ALL kinds of sources, visit the Purdue University's OWL How-to web site.

What are Primary and Secondary Sources?

Historians use a wide variety of sources to answer questions about the past. In their research, history scholars use both primary sources and secondary sources. Primary sources are actual records that have survived from the past, such as letters, photographs, articles of clothing. Secondary sources are accounts of the past created by people writing about events sometime after they happened.

For example, your history textbook is a secondary source. Someone wrote most of your textbook long after historical events took place. Your textbook may also include some primary sources, such as direct quotes from people living in the past or excerpts from historical documents.

People living in the past left many clues about their lives. These clues include both primary and secondary sources in the form of books, personal papers, government documents, letters, oral accounts, diaries, maps, photographs, reports, novels and short stories, artifacts, coins, stamps, and many other things. Historians call all of these clues together the historical record.

(From the Library of Congress Learning Page <>)

See your librarian for books containing primary sources.

American History & Presidents

American History


Editorial Cartoons

Editorial Cartoons

Online Newspapers - Current & Historical

Wisconsin State Journal - Madison, WI's daily newspaper

Prep Zone - check online for Dane County high school sports

The Badger Herald  - UW-Madison's independent student newspaper

The Isthmus - alternative news media source for news, arts and entertainment, and everything happening in Madison.

The Daily Page - Madison, WI's alternative weekly newspaper

The Cap Times - a twice-weekly and online news publication for Madison, WI

Historical Newspapers Online - This is a really good listing of historical, digitized U.S. newspapers available online for free.

Subject Guide

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Erin Clark
702 Pflaum Rd.
Madison, WI 53716

Maps & Images



  • Current events articles written for teens
  • Teachers can adapt each article to each student's reading level
  • Pre-formulated quiz questions to assess comprehension