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HOME: Primary sources, Open access databases, Digital Databases


Open Access databases


Some companies open part of their repositories to the public. You can add ["open access"] to your search terms in your Google query to see what's available.

Click this link to see a list of open access databases such as DOAJ, Research Gate, Springer Open, Elsevier Open Access, etc. They all offer free articles and research papers. 



They are online libraries or repositories of images, text, videos, etc. Several are from well-known institutions such as (click on) HathiTrust, the Library of Congress and the Internet Archive. Most are archival with great primary sources.

Check the list of primary sources links and digital databases on the right.


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Primary Sources



Primary sources are not always easily defined. An article about the French Revolution written at the end of the 18th century would be considered a primary source today but would have been a secondary source in those days. That said, we usually describe primary sources as artefacts, documents, photos, recordings and anything that was created in the era we're interested in.

For primary sources in other languages, you can search in that language. For example [fuentes primarias colonizador "estados unidos" "perspectiva local" OR indigena]


BnF Gallica (in French and English)
Gallica is the digital library of the Bibliothèque nationale de France and its partners. It went online in 1997 and offers millions of documents. (from the site)

European History Primary Sources (Multilingual - Excellent source)
The purpose of EHPS is to provide an easily searchable index of scholarly digital repositories that contain primary sources for the history of Europe. (from the site)

World Digital Library

The WDL makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from all countries and cultures. Stat with Explore Topics. (from the site)


Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts in its collections. (from the site)

Chronicling America 
Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1963 - part of the LOC. (from the site)

Founded in 2008, HathiTrust is a not-for-profit collaborative of academic and research libraries preserving 17+ million digitized items. (from the site)

The Digital Public Library of America connects people to the riches held within America’s libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions - photographs, books, maps, news footage, oral histories, personal letters, museum objects, artwork, government documents, and so much more. (from the site)

Calisphere - University of California
"More than 150,000 digitized items — including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts — reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history." (from the site)


Our Documents (100 milestone documents)
"The following is a list of 100 milestone documents, compiled by the National Archives and Records Administration, and drawn primarily from its nationwide holdings. The documents chronicle United States history from 1776 to 1965." (from the site)

Avalon Project (Yale University)
"The Avalon Project is the name of Yale Law School's digital library of Documents relating to Law, History and Diplomacy." (from the site)

American Memory - Library of Congress

"American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience." (from the site)


Internet Modern History Source
"The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly (without advertising or excessive layout) for educational use." (from the site)


Internet Archive
Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.

National Archives (US)
"The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation's record keeper. Of all documents and materials created in the course of business conducted by the United States Federal government, only 1%-3% are so important for legal or historical reasons that they are kept by us forever." (from the site)

British library
The online gallery offers 30,000 items from their collection.

The New York Public Library Digital Collections
The site adds new materials every day, featuirng prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, streaming video, and more

Project Gutenberg
"Project Gutenberg offers over 38,000 free ebooks: choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online. We carry high quality ebooks: All our ebooks were previously published by bona fide publishers. We digitized and diligently proofread them with the help of thousands of volunteers." (from the site)

"EDSITEment offers a treasure trove for teachers, students, and parents searching for high-quality material on the Internet in the subject areas of literature and language arts, foreign languages, art and culture, and history and social studies." (from the site)

Teaching American History

"American History for Students is a comprehensive site which presents historical material in a variety of ways to stimulate learning."  (from the site)


David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
The David Rumsey Map Collection was started over 30 years ago and contains more than 150,000 maps. The collection focuses on rare 16th through 21st century maps of North and South America, as well as maps of the World, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. (from the site)

Old maps online indexes over 400.000 maps. (from the site)

Labor and the Holocaust
The Jewish Labor Committee and the Anti-Nazi Struggle

Trans-Atlantic slave trade database
This digital memorial raises questions about the largest slave trades in history and offers access to the documentation available to answer them.


Documenting the American South
"(It) provides access to digitized primary materials that offer Southern perspectives on American history and culture. It supplies teachers, students, and researchers at every educational level with a wide array of titles they can use for reference, studying, teaching, and research." ( from the site)

The American Civil War Homepage

"The American Civil War Homepage gathers together in one place hypertext links to the most useful identified electronic files about the American Civil War (1861-1865)" (from the site)

Civil War Trust 

"The Civil War Trust is America's largest non-profit organization devoted to the preservation of our nation's endangered Civil War battlfields." (from the site)