The Library of Congress maintains several digital collections where they can be retrieved.
Some examples are American Memory and Chronicling America.
Many County Record Offices will supply digital copies of documents.
In other regions, Europeana has digitized materials from across Europe while the World Digital Library and Flickr Commons have items from all over the world. Most primary source materials are not digitized and may only be represented online with a record or finding aid.
Both digitized and not digitized materials can be found through catalogs such as World Cat, the Library of Congress catalog, the National Archives catalog, and so on.
Research Proposal Content - Primary Source Essay
History as an academic discipline is based on primary sources, as evaluated by the community of scholars, who report their findings in books, articles and papers.Digital copies of various classes of documents at the National Archives (including wills) are available from Documents Online.Most of the available documents relate to England and Wales.For example, a memoir would be considered a primary source in research concerning its author or about his or her friends characterized within it, but the same memoir would be a secondary source if it were used to examine the culture in which its author lived."Primary" and "secondary" should be understood as relative terms, with sources categorized according to specific historical contexts and what is being studied.Primary sources are distinguished from secondary sources, which cite, comment on, or build upon primary sources.Generally, accounts written after the fact with the benefit (and possible distortions) of hindsight are secondary.Similar definitions can be used in library science, and other areas of scholarship, although different fields have somewhat different definitions.In journalism, a primary source can be a person with direct knowledge of a situation, or a document written by such a person.Arthur Marwick says "Primary sources are absolutely fundamental to history." Ideally, a historian will use all available primary sources that were created by the people involved at the time being studied.In practice some sources have been destroyed, while others are not available for research.