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Primary Sources

ALA Glossary Terms

TermDefinition
Access The means of examining, retrieving, or obtaining primary sources for use.
Agency Possessing the ability to act.
Authority The relative credibility and expertise of the creator(s) of a source.
Bias A prejudice in favor of one thing or person over another.
Catalog record Descriptions of materials in a specific common format.
Citation A reference to a source.
Collection A group of materials with some unifying characteristic.
Container A package or housing used to hold materials.
Copy Something that is nearly identical to something else.
Surrogate A copy created to serve as a substitute for an original source, often to protect it from overuse.
Copyright A legal right granting exclusive rights for use, reproduction, publication, adaptation, performance, and/or distribution of an original work.
Creator The agent responsible for a source's production, accumulation, or formation.
Cultural understanding The ability to understand the viewpoint of those from other cultures, present or past, and to understand shared or conflicted history.
Database A structured way to store and retrieve data.
Discipline A subject, field of study, or area of expertise.
Evidence Sources used in support to answer a research question, prove or disprove a fact, or develop an argument.
Fair Use Permissible use of copyrighted material.
Finding aid A description of papers, records, or a manuscript collection that provides information about the materials.
Format The container or method of presentation of a source.
Historical empathy The ability to see and appreciate source(s) within their particular historical context.
Iterative process The repetitive cycle of research, requiring frequent returns to and revisions of earlier questions and assumptions.
Literacy Competency, knowledge, or skills in a specified area.
Materiality The physical nature or format of a source.
Mediation The amount of intervention and contextualization between the user and the source.
Permissions Authorization from the rights holders in order to use the work in certain ways.
Preservation The act of keeping objects from harm, injury, decay, or destruction.
Primary source Materials created at the time under study, serving as original evidence documenting a time period, event, people, idea, or work.
Public domain Describing works that do not have copyright restrictions.
Repository A cultural heritage organization that collects, preserves, and makes collections accessible, generally for research.
Research Question An idea or inquiry which drives a research project.
Secondary source Work of scholarship commenting on, analyzing, or doing critical synthesis of a primary or other secondary source.
Silences Gaps in the historical record, often caused by those whose records were not considered valuable or were suppressed by the dominant culture.
Source A place where information is found; can be primary, secondary, or tertiary.
Special Collection A physical place which provides secure access to rare and unique materials; such materials themselves.
Created by: RLD