Web Literacy: Sources
|Life Skills||Web Literacy|
A primary source -- If you're studying, say,
A primary source is a work of Renaissance art.
It is Michelangelo painted something or sculpted something.
That is the primary source.
The secondary source is something that is written
about the primary source.
And it goes with texts, too.
A primary source might be a document from the government.
It might be John Hancock's signature.
A secondary source is something that is about that primary source.
"John Hancock was actually not the first person to sign it.
He just had the biggest signature."
Whatever that is. That's a secondary source.
Primary sources are the best to cite
because there's no -- It just is.
John Hancock's signature is big.
You're looking at it right there and you're saying,
"Hey, check it out. I'm looking at this."
It's basically as objective as you can get
because this is what exists.
But then the secondary source is gonna interpret that
and kind of give you more information about it or whatever.
And that can be trustworthy,
but you just have to make sure that there's no bias in it.
So you're looking at the primary source which is
what was created at the time at the scene.
And the secondary source is describing it.
And there's quality hierarchies
about secondary sources, meaning
if it was written contemporaneously with Michelangelo
and it was his uncle
who hung out with him and cleaned his shop
and he wrote about Michelangelo's work habits,
that's gonna carry a lot more weight than
a PHD writing about that 300 years later
when they have all kinds of gauze in front of them.
Exactly. And it's just kind of like a game of telephone, right?
Because that PHD student probably read
the things that the uncle said
about the piece of art.
That were repatriated by priests
who wrote it on lambskin
and then in 100 years, it burned down,
and someone else did that and they omitted every third word
to save space and so on.
So on the Internet, most of what you're reading is secondary sources.
We should say that.
But you can find primary sources on the Internet.
And, for example, if you're writing
an essay about how blogging has changed the way we write,
a blog is then a primary source
because that's the topic.
I might take so-and-so's blog about baking.
That's a primary source.
One of her blog entries. Or his.
[ laughs ]
But if I then read an article
called "Blogging in the 21st Century,"
that's a secondary source.
So primary sources don't have to be
from the Renaissance. They don't have to be from
early America. They can be contemporary primary sources.
But it depends on what your topic is.
If your topic is baking,
then the blog actually becomes a secondary source.
Because baking --
This isn't the blog entry about baking.
So depending on what your topic is,
different things become primary and secondary sources.
[ pen writing ]
What is credibility?
What are the four categories we deploy in determining credibility?
Why is it so important to understand objectivity?
Can Wikipedia be credible?
How can you check?
All right, next.