A classroom tool to create short documentaries using primary sources


PrimaryAccess is a suite of free online tools that allows students and teachers to use primary source documents to complete meaningful and compelling learning activities with digital movies.

PrimaryAccess enables you to combine text, audio and images into compelling personal narratives and digital stories, with a simple movie-making process. Steps like scripting, recording and saving are entirely Web-based--no software to install--and the movies are easy to retrieve and share.

PrimaryAccess is freely avalable for educational use by the University of Virginia's Sciences, Humanities and Arts Network of Technological Initiatives (SHANTI).



Designed for the classroom - PrimaryAccess was designed to promote writing in all disciplines, and encourages the use of primary sources in social studies. Teachers can easily assign projects to students with a selection of images to choose from.

Easy to use and learn - Fast intuitive user interface with seamless cloud-based project storage.

Widely used - PrimaryAccess has been used by thousands of student and teachers since it was first introduced in 2005.

Award winning - PrimaryAccess was listed as one of the top 25 educational sites by the American Library Association in 2009.

Native HTML5 web-app - PrimaryAccess is a modern HTML5 web application and requires no plugs-ins or Flash to use. It is open-source and free to use.

Try it out

Watch this 5 minute screencast that shows how easy it is to use PrimaryAccess:

View PrimaryAccess Teacher's Guide
Play Sample Movie

Use PrimaryAccess