NK - Fwd: Homework Help! Primary Vs. Secondary sources.

I. Marc Carlson LIB_IMC at centum.utulsa.edu
Tue Nov 24 15:19:30 PST 1998

<Vanessa Goins <delbosque at rocketmail.com>>
>...I ASSUME the first is a secondary resource.  If she reffered back to a
>document in antiquity it would still be a secondary resource wouldn't
>it?  Following this logic is the second a PRIMARY resource?
>Learning to hate college,

Let me put it to you this way

Let's assume Beorthlic knows something about metalworking, something he
figured out on his own and he didn't learn from anyone else.  He writes
that down in the Book of Stuff.  That is a primary source, because HE's 
the one writing about something he knows.

Now assume I read the Book of Stuff, and in my Book of MORE stuff, I 
quote him, describe his process, plagiarize, whatever.  That is a secondary 

If I watch him do it, what I write will be a primary source of my
describing my perception of my experiences, but secondary for his process.

Now YOU read my Book of Stuff, you quote what I had to say about it.  Your
work is now either a Secondary Source or a Tertiary Source (depending on 
just how anal you are being in your description -- if your instructor hasn't
used the term Tertiary Source, assume that Secondary is good enough).

We all die and turn to dust, and then one day Duke Bragnagl Mac Schwartz,
living in the Principality of Northkeep in AS 478 (that's 2345 AD or so)
comes across this footnote in a book on metallurgy describing this process.
This footnote only cites your work.  The Book of Stuff is long out of print 
and lost to history, while my Book of More Stuff has been long forgotten
(as is appropriate for such derivative drivel).  The book of Metallurgy
he is reading is ...?  A secondary source.

Does this help?


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