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Primary & Secondary Sources

This guide will help you learn the difference between primary and secondary sources in various subject areas and provides resources for locating primary sources, both in the library and on the open web.

TV & Advertising Sources

AdViews: A Digital Archive of Vintage Television Commercials A free digital archive of television commercials from the 1950s to the 1980s, this site provides access to commercials created or collected by the New York advertising agency Benton & Bowles. The archival collection is housed at Duke University's Harman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History and is a collaborative project with the Digital Collections Program at Duke. Currently more than 12,000 commercials are available through this Web site, including 40 commercials with closed captioning and audio descriptions for users with hearing or vision impairments. 

Live Music Archive from the Internet Archive. An online public library of live recordings available for royalty-free, no-cost public downloads. Material only from trade-friendly artists: those who like the idea of noncommercial distribution of some or all of their live material.

Moving Image Archive from the Internet Archive. Free movies, films, and videos. This library contains thousands of digital movies uploaded by Archive users which range from classic full-length films, to daily alternative news broadcasts, to cartoons and concerts. Many of these videos are available for free download.

Prelinger Archives form the Internet Archive. A collection of over 60,000 "ephemeral" (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) films. The collection currently contains over 10% of the total production of ephemeral films between 1927 and 1987, and it may be the most complete and varied collection in existence of films from these poorly preserved genres.

Classic TV Commericals from the Internet Archive. Classic TV commercials and public service announcements (PSAs) uploaded by users.

The History of the Discovery of Cinematography Online book with a number of photographs, illustrations, and moving images. A retrospective history of the dawn of film, and a pre-history of cinema.

Ad*Access The Duke University Libraries has an extensive physical and online collection of advertisements that appeared in magazines and newspapers in the U.S. and Canada from 1911-1955. The Ad*Access collection focuses on advertisements in five main subject areas: Radio, Television, Transportation, Beauty and Hygiene, and World War II.

British Pathe British Pathe is one of the oldest media companies in the world.Their roots lie in 1890s Paris where their founder, Charles Pathe, pioneered the development of the moving image. They were established in London in 1902, and by 1910 were producing their famous bi-weekly newsreel the Pathe Gazette. After the First World War they started producing various Cinemagazines as well. By 1930 they were producing the Gazette, the Pathetone Weekly, the Pathe Pictorial and Eve's Film Review, covering entertainment, culture and womens' issues. You can view and buy films and still photographs from the entire archive of 90,000 videos covering newsreel, sports footage, social history documentaries, entertainment and music stories from 1896 to 1976.

European Film Gateway The EFG Portal gives you quick access to hundreds of thousands of film historical documents as preserved in European film archives and cinémathèques: photos, posters, programmes, periodicals, censorship documents, rare feature and documentary films, newsreels and other materials. Targeted at scientific researchers and the interested public alike, the EFG offers a look at and behind the scenes of filmmaking in Europe from the early days until today.

R.C. Maxwell Company Records Nearly 10,000 photographs of billboards and other outdoor advertising, mostly on the Atlantic City Boardwalk from the 1920s to 1950s. 

Investigating Power Online Archive Interviews with notable American investigative journalists who have been reporting since the 1950's.