For NCEA students, primary sources can be an important part of independent research assignments. For example in NCEA Level 3 History, students are asked to plan and carry out independent historical research on a particular subject, to include both Primary and Secondary sources.
Primary sources can loosely be defined as sources of information that provide first-hand accounts of events, practices, conditions or experiments at a particular point in time. Amongst the many examples of primary sources are manuscripts, oral histories, architectural drawings, maps, newspapers, original manuscripts, diaries, memoirs, letters, journals, photographs, drawings, posters, film footage, art works, sheet music, and songs.
Digitised resources can be a great help in the search for primary sources.
The CCL website is a good place to start. The Digitised Resources include:
- The H H Stevens War Diary , a World War l diary of Herbert Harold Stephens, of Sydenham, Christchurch.
- The Ballantynes Fire of 1947
- The Parker Hulme murder case
On the CCL Digitised resources page, a link to Matapihi allows you to search across the digital collections of different New Zealand organisations from one website.
Many Museums and Libraries have extensive digitised collections. The State Library of New South Wales has an interesting Manuscripts, Oral history and Pictures collection which includes Joseph Banks Endeavour Journal, written as he explored New Zealand with James Cook in 1769-1770.
The History Resource Centre contains the history of ancient civilisations through to the 20th Century integrating reference sources along with full-text articles from more than 100 academic journals, maps and images. It includes full-text and facsimile images for over 1,400 primary source documents.
Students are lucky. They can view endless primary sources without leaving home, with a library card and PIN.
Reference Update 2010 February