What are Primary Sources?
Primary sources provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. They are created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events or conditions being documented. Often these sources are created at the time when the events or conditions are occurring, but primary sources can also include autobiographies, memoirs, and oral histories recorded later. Primary sources are characterized by their content, regardless of whether they are available in original format, in microfilm/microfiche, in digital format, or in published format.
Thanks to the Yale University Library for this description.
What are Secondary Sources?
See the explanation in the Woodruff Library Primary Sources Research Guide (opens in a new tab). This guide gives definitions and examples of both primary and secondary sources.
Primary sources for music may include
What are papers and archives?
Libraries commonly use the term "papers" for collections of an individual's original documents and personal effects. "Papers" covers many formats, such as manuscripts, drafts, diaries, journals, audio and video recordings, books, and artifacts (e.g., eyeglasses, musical instruments) that belonged to the individual. Archives usually refers to the records of an organization, though there are exceptions. “Archival” carries a different connotation, and would apply to individuals’ papers and other collections.
How do libraries catalog them?