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The Internet Archive also has primary source materials in many formats.In the UK, the National Archives provides a consolidated search of its own catalogue and a wide variety of other archives listed on the Access to Archives index.
The Library of Congress maintains several digital collections where they can be retrieved.
Some examples are American Memory and Chronicling America.
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.
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.
Historians may also take archaeological artifacts and oral reports and interviews into consideration. In historiography, when the study of history is subject to historical scrutiny, a secondary source becomes a primary source.
For a biography of a historian, that historian's publications would be primary sources.
For example, the Huntington Library in California houses a large number of documents from the United Kingdom.
In the US, digital copies of primary sources can be retrieved from a number of places.