Bibliometric data set the scene by illustrating the growth of terahertz work and the present interest in terahertz science and technology. After locating terahertz sources within the broader context of terahertz systems, an overview is given of the range of available sources, emphasizing recent developments. The focus then narrows to terahertz sources that rely on surface phenomena. Three are highlighted. Optical rectification, usually thought of as a bulk process, may in addition exhibit a surface contribution, which, in some cases, predominates. Transient surface currents, for convenience often separated into drift and diffusion currents, are well understood according to Monte Carlo modelling. Finally, terahertz surface emission by mechanical means—in the absence of photoexcitation—is described.