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History

Format of Primary Sources

 

                   Format  

                                          Description

Books and monographs

 

A monograph is "a systematic and complete treatise on a particular subject" (ALA glossary of library and information science, Chicago: ALA, 1983, p.48), in one or many volumes, complete at the time of publication or published with the intention of being completed at some future date.
 

Serials

 

A serial is a publication that is usually published at regular, established intervals, with the intention of continuing publication indefinitely. Magazines and newspapers -- often offer the most immediate published accounts of and reactions to historical events. The important thing is to distinguish between material written at the time of an event as a kind of report, and material written much later, as historical analysis.

Government documents

Government documents are publications issued by federal, state, municipal and international governments. 

Records of organizations and individuals

The minutes, reports, correspondence, etc. of an organization or agency serve as an ongoing record of the activity and thinking of that organization or agency.  There are many kinds of records, such as: births, deaths, marriages certificates; permits and licenses issued; census data; etc. 
 

Manuscripts

Documents created by individuals, not as employees or representatives of an organization, are called manuscripts or personal papers. These documents can be either hand-written or typed, varying in length from a single note or letter to a full-length book. Include among other things: personal papers, memoirs, autobiographies, correspondence, diaries, letters, artificial collections, etc.
 

Archives

Archival documents may be either personal papers or institutional archives. They could include bulletins, case files, contracts, correspondence, diaries, journals, ledgers, memoirs, memorandums, minutes, photographs, reports, rosters, and videorecordings. 
 

Original art

Single paintings, drawings, watercolors, sculpture, architectural drawings, and plans,

Films

 

Prints

Graphic art, etchings, engravings, lithographs, woodcuts, mezzotints, posters, trade cards, artists' prints, and computer-generated graphics
 

Photographs

Pictures, picture negatives
 

Physical objects

Buildings, furniture, tools, appliances, household items, clothing, etc. 

Digital collections

Digital collections may have been transferred from their original format to a machine-readable form or, may exist only as electronic resources. Data may be stored on disk, computer tape, CD-ROM or from Internet sites.
 

John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300
323-343-3988