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A primary source is an original document or account of an event that stands on its own. It will usually have been written or created during the time under study by firsthand observers or participants.
A secondary source is a document that interprets or analyzes primary or other secondary sources. It is second hand information, i.e., one step removed from the event.
Tertiary sources assimilate information taken from primary and secondary sources. The information is usually presented in an easy-to-read, or basic format.