A primary source is "first-hand" information, sources as close as possible to the origin of the information or idea under study. Primary sources are contrasted with secondary sources, works that provide analysis, commentary, or criticism on the primary source. In literary studies, primary sources are often creative works, including poems, stories, novels, and so on. In historical studies, primary sources include written works, recordings, or other source of information from people who were participants or direct witnesses to the events in question. Examples of commonly used primary sources include government documents, memoirs, personal correspondence, oral histories, and contemporary newspaper accounts.
Check out the e-publication Using Archives from the Society of American Archivists for an introductory guide to using archives and special collections effectively.
To find primary sources relating to Pepperdine history and the Malibu area, contact or visit the Pepperdine University Special Collections and University Archives. This department of Payson Library collects, organizes, preserves, and makes available materials with enduring historic value that can be used to support research, teaching, administrative activities, and community involvement. The holdings consist of rare book collections, archival collections (including the University Archives), student newspapers and publications, the Malibu Historical Collection, and the Churches of Christ Heritage Center. Several collections are in the process of being digitized and curated for the Pepperdine Digital Collections. Simply search the word "music" to find photographs and documents related to the musical arts at Pepperdine.