Library and Archives Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional links

ARCHIVED - Through a Lens:
Dieppe in Photographs and Film

Archived Content

This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.

Educational Resources

Primary and Secondary Sources

Information about the past can be gathered from a variety of sources. To fully study a historic event, it is important to examine all available sources of information. These sources include both primary and secondary source material.

Primary sources

Primary sources are the most authentic way to study history. When researching an event in history, historians rely almost exclusively on primary sources since these materials were created at the time the event took place. The creators of these documents were often direct witnesses to the events.

The following are examples of primary sources:

  • letters
  • government documents
  • films
  • sound recordings
  • diaries
  • maps
  • works of art
  • photographs
  • newspaper articles

Secondary sources

Secondary sources are images or descriptions of the past created sometime after the events in question. The creators of secondary source material did not witness the events directly, but often rely on primary source material in their work.

The following are examples of secondary sources:

  • books, including textbooks
  • encyclopedias
  • documentaries
  • works of art created long after the events depicted
  • newspaper articles written long after the event took place

The photographs and films available on the Through a Lens: Dieppe in Photography and Film Web site, although digitally reproduced, are primary sources. They are copies of original photographs and films created by individuals who were present at the raid on Dieppe or at later commemorative ceremonies.