Library Skip to main content

College Archives: Primary Sources & Archival Research

A guide to the Archives and Special Collections at Niagara County Community College.

What are primary sources?

Primary sources are the raw materials of history and provide firsthand, original accounts of historical events. They are created by witnesses or first recorders of those events at the time they occurred. Examples of such materials include: letters, reports, newspaper articles, memos, photographs, and video recordings to name a few. Some firsthand accounts are documented at a later date, such as oral histories and memoirs.

Secondary sources, on the other hand, provide interpretations or accounts of events by someone without firsthand experience of the event.

NCCC Newspapers

A good example of a primary source that you can use--even from home-- is the collection of NCCC newspapers at NYS Historic Newspapers. Students at NCCC have published a newspaper since 1964! The name of the paper has changed a couple times, but you can search through the issues here:

You can read the current issue of The Spirit here. 

Primary Source Database

Teaching with Photographs

Archival Research

Archival research utilizes primary sources held in an archives, special collections, or a similar repository. 

If you're researching NCCC, the best place to find primary sources on the College is the Archives!  Please contact us for access to the collection for research purposes. 

Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research

Terminology

Teaching with Primary Source Documents

Resources on NCCC History

Here are some books on the history of NCCC and SUNY Community Colleges which utilized primary sources from the Archives.

Oral History transcripts

You can read transcripts of oral history interviews of former NCCC President Gerald Miller, former History Professor Graham Millar, and former Trustee Edward Pawenski through SUNY's digital repository. 

Citing Archival Resources

Citation information

In general, you will need:

  • specific information on the document, including the author or creator, item title, page, and date
  • box and file numbers (the containers the item is organized and stored in)
  • repository name-- in our case, it will be the Niagara County Community College Archives

Since part of the purpose to cite your sources is to allow others to access the information you used, properly citing archival materials is especially important because often archival materials are unique and not found elsewhere.

Niagara County Community College. Henrietta G. Lewis Library. 3111 Saunders Settlement Rd., Sanborn, NY 14132 | 716-614-6786