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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Latinx Library Resources: How To: Identify Primary and Secondary Sources

A library resource guide for studying Latinx Studies

Primary Sources

Primary sources provide firsthand evidence about an event, person or work, oftentimes providing the original materials for additional research by scholars and students. Primary sources can be in multiple formats.

  • Autobiographies and memoirs
  • Diaries, personal letters, correspondence
  • Interviews, surveys, fieldwork
  • Internet communications on email, blogs, social media, listservs and newsgroups
  • Photographs, drawings, posters
  • Works of art and literature
  • Book, magazine and newspaper articles published at the time of the event or issue
  • Public opinion polls
  • Speeches and oral histories
  • Birth certificates, deeds, trial transcripts
  • Data sets, census statistics
  • Records of organizations and government agencies
  • Artifacts such as tools, coins, clothing, furniture
  • Audio recordings, DVDs, and video recordings
  • Government documents
  • Patents,
  • Scientific journal articles reporting experimental research results

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources describe, discuss, interpret, comment on, analyze, evaluate, summarize primary sources. A secondary source is generally one or more steps removed from the event or time period are created after the fact with the benefit of hindsight.

  • Biographical works
  • Bibliographies, reference works
  • Documentaries
  • Articles from magazines, journals and newspapers reported after the event
  • Literature reviews
  • History books and academic books
  • Textbooks

Ask a Librarian

Librarian Contact Information

Please direct comments, or requests to Lisa Romero, Liaison to Latina/o Studies. 

Lisa Romero can be reached at,

Contact Info

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Communications Library
122 Gregory Hall
810 S Wright St. Urbana, IL, 61801