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MESAS 370W|HIST 396W Crusades through Middle Eastern Eyes (Main)

Primery Sources

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are original materials that provide direct evidence or first-hand testimony concerning a topic or event -- firsthand records created by people who actually participated in or remembered an event and reported on the event and their reactions to it. Primary sources can include:

  • Texts of laws and other original documents.
  • Newspaper reports, by reporters who witnessed an event or who quote people who did.
  • Speeches, diaries, letters and interviews - what the people involved said or wrote.
  • Original research.
  • Datasets, survey data, such as census or economic statistics.
  • Material and Visual sources (architecture, art objects, daily life objects, photographs, film, painting) that capture an event.

Most catalogs (such as our catalog, and WorldCat) use standardized terms to describe these kinds of materials, making it easier for researchers to locate them.

autobiographies   diaries      
autobiography personal narratives
biography sources
captivity narratives speeches
correspondence pamphlets
pictorial works photographs

Below are terms used and some example searches. To find your own: search the catalog using these terms with your topics. For example, Crusades and personal narratives.

Recommended Arabic Primary Sources

Arabic Sources:

Arabic Sources in Translation:

Recommended European Primary Sources

Byzantium Sources