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Similar definitions can be used in library science, and other areas of scholarship, although different fields have somewhat different definitions.
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.
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.
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.In the study of history as an academic discipline, a primary source (also called an original source) is an artifact, document, diary, manuscript, autobiography, recording, or any other source of information that was created at the time under study.It serves as an original source of information about the topic.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.The Library of Congress maintains several digital collections where they can be retrieved.Some examples are American Memory and Chronicling America.A study of cultural history could include fictional sources such as novels or plays.In a broader sense primary sources also include artifacts like photographs, newsreels, coins, paintings or buildings created at the time.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.