Finding Primary Sources Online: Contents

This page lists resources for digitized historical primary sources. Resources containing books, archives/manuscripts and mixed collections are included. Databases for particular primary source types, newspapers, periodicals, personal writings, images, films, etc., are listed on their own pages in this guide. A list of primary sources types with links is given at Outline of Primary Sources for History. We have a list of digital collections, both Harvard subscription databases and free Web collections at Online Primary Source Collections for History. It is still in an early stage of development.

General resources are listed first, then the same categories of resources, where needed, are listed by region or language.

General Digital Libraries

 HathiTrust Digital Library, Internet Archive, Google Book Search offer books and periodicals digitized from numerous libraries.  Each of these three digital libraries allows searching full text over their entire collections.

HathiTrust Digital Library is a huge collection of digitized books and periodicals. Each full text item is linked to a standard library catalog record, thus providing good metadata and subject terms. Most items pre-1925 will be full text viewable.  After 1925, a much smaller number will be full text viewable.  You can search within non-full text viewable works and obtain the pages numbers where your search terms occur.   Most US, and some state, government documents will be full text viewable.

There is also a separate full text search for US government documents.

Advanced Full Text Search

In the first (Full Text) Advanced Full Text Search field, you can put terms for a full text search.  Phrases and proper names work best (exact phrase).  If you search two or more separate keywords, when you search within particular volumes, those pages containing all the keywords will sort first.

In the second search field, you can limit your full text search by:

  • Title, searching the contents of a particular work, including periodical titles
  • Author, searching the works of a particular author, including names of organizations and government entities.
  • Subject, searching the Subject terms (same Subject terms as those used in HOLLIS) for a particular topic

Internet Archive .

  • Full text for a variety of digitized print materials and archived web pages (Wayback Machine), as well as manuscripts (a few), digitized microfilm, films, audio files, TV News, and more.  Many recent books are full text viewable if you set up a free account. You can use a Google password.
  • Unlike Google and Hathitrust, IA usually offers multiple download options including e-readers.

Full Text Search Options. You can search Internet Archive for texts bearing a specified Subject term, Title, or Author (Creator). Shift from Search metadata to Search text contents.

  • subject:Calcutta AND cholera [Use lower case for subject, title, creator]
  • title:Lessons in elementary biology AND "oosperm or unicellular embryo" [note no "" after title]
    • For a periodical: title:American Machinist AND "Spring breakage has been eliminated"
  • creator:Parker, T. Jeffery AND "oosperm or unicellular embryo" [note: The correct form of the name must be used. Find this by trying out the name in Advanced Search: Creator. When you find the right name, shift from Search metadata to Search text contents ]

Much of the Internet Archive content is organized into full text searchable Collections. Thus, if you search “Civil rights” you retrieve 104,660 items which are partially organized into 178 collections (see under Media Type in the left hand column). Some of the collections are topical (Kent State Shootings) or they include issues of a particular periodical or podcast. Collections are often nested. For example:

By no means are all periodical issues and other items included in collections. In these cases periodical titles can be full text searched using the title:American Machinist AND "Spring breakage has been eliminated" method.

Browse text collections   ---   Browse movie collections    Adjust Media Type to Collections. You can then limit by Subject.  There are 243 collections of commercials in Movies.

Periodicals in Internet Archive

Many are available full text in the Internet Archive, including numerous trade periodicals. Search: collection:(Periodicals) AND Railroads. Select Media Type: Collections

In Advanced search:

Any field: Your topic
Collection is: Periodicals

You can search full text within a particular volume, over the whole Internet Archive, or within a particular Collection. 

  • Periodicals
  • Serials in Microfilm

Omit colons (:) and other punctuation in titles

These searches yield individual issues and whole runs.  Isolate whole runs by choosing Collections under Media Type.


In Advanced search you can search say Description: "South Asia", and at the top left of the results page choose Media type: Collection.  When on a Collection page, you can search within by metadata or full text

The Internet Archive is so large and various that it can be difficult to navigate.  These partial lists of contents are useful:

Google Book Search offers full text of:

  • Largely, pre-1924 books and periodicals scanned from libraries,
  • Post-1924 books and periodicals digitized in libraries. Full text searchable and snippet views displayed
  • "Previews" of books submitted by publishers. Some pages are hidden.  Some, but not all, of the hidden pages are searchable.

Internet History Sourcebooks Project

World Digital Library offers primary source materials.

The Making of the Modern World offers full text searching of works on economics and business published from 1450-1914 from the Kress Collection of Business and Economics at the Baker Library, Harvard Business School and the Goldsmiths' Library of Economic Literature at the University of London Library. Includes material on commerce, finance, social conditions, politics, public health, trade and transport. A great deal of more recently acquired material in the Kress Collection is not included in The Making of the Modern World.

Is This Book Available Open Access?

There are several sources for finding free, open access, books online.

Try HathiTrust, Internet Archive, and Google Books as described above. Harvard members should be sure to log into HathiTrust to see the Covid Temporary Access material.

Internet Archive offers numerous in-copyright books for one-hour (renewable) loan.  Free registration needed.

WorldCat Open Access searches for open access material. Adjust Search in database: from WorldCat to OpenAccessContent

The Online Books Page arranges electronic texts by Library of Congress call numbers and is searchable (but not full text searchable).  Includes books not in Google Books, HathiTrust, or Internet Archive. Has many other useful features.

The Open Library, although its books reside in the Internet Archive, includes many books not findable by searching the Internet Archive directly

OAPEN: Open Access Publishing in European Networks

OpenEdition - the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB). Good for non-US imprints

The Digital Public Library of America’s Open Bookshelf offers numerous open access books.

WorldCat (Public version) allows limiting a search to open access material. Use Advanced Search. Check Open Access. Select Format: Book if desired.

Check your local public library ebook collection. 

Finding Primary Sources on the Open Web

There is no one way to find digitized primary sources on the Internet. The following offers methods for finding online historical resources which are more focused than a simple Google search. Most find items within digital collections. A few search the full text.

In most one cannot effectively limit to archival/manuscript sources.  Specific searches usually work better than broad topical searches.  Searches for proper names often yield good results.

The Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America offers textual, visual, and sound resources contributed by numerous libraries, archives, and museums.  Searches catalog records, not full text, and links to the items on the contributors' websites.  Contains many individual items, such as letters and photographs, from digital collections.

Advanced Google Searches

General Google searches may yield very many results, and it may take much sifting through the results in order to find relevant items. Using Google Advanced Search with specific search terms can help yield more focused results.​ Detailed instructions for searching Google Advanced Search.

Bielefeld Academic Search Engine

Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE) searches metadata and some full text, from over 2000 sources of academic open access documents.  About 60% of the documents indexed are available full text.  The metadata searched is provided by the source and tagging is often inexact.  This is a vast collection of documents and has much not available elsewhere.
Use Browsing to narrow your search to subject area (e.g., Literature) or Document type (e.g., Manuscript, broadly construed).  Open Browsing and choose-Dewey Decimal (for Subject), choose major subject to see next finer level, twice.  After choosing View Records add a search term to the Subject Term or Document Type:


EROMM: European Register of Microform and Digital Masters searches its own database of records of printed and handwritten material in digital form or on microfilm from institutions worldwide and offers web search for such material.

WorldCat (the OCLC Union Catalog)

Numerous digitized collections of primary sources have records in WorldCat.  These collections of primary sources are often swamped by ebooks on the same subject. There is no one perfect method for finding them, but the following may be tried for any topic.  Always find the proper Subject terms for your topic and search using those as well as any keywords.  Use Advanced search. Detailed instructions for searching WorldCat.

OAISTER is a subset of WorldCat for open access online academic material. It can be useful in separating digitized primary sources from the numerous ebooks in WolrldCat.  It includes digitized books and journal articles, open access publications, manuscript/archival material, photographic images, audio and visual files, data sets, and theses. It includes such a vast range of resources that digitized archival and other primary sources are lost in the abundant results if a broad topical term is used.  So it is best to use a narrow term or proper name. Thus "Act-Up" yields archival letters. It is possible to limit a search to Archival Material, but I have not found this to be useful.

Finding the Right Subscription Database

To find databases available via Harvard Library by subject, go to HOLLIS Databases, scroll down to Best Databases for… and open History, or other topic.  Refine your results set on the right.  For example, for historical resources relating to women, go to Subject Category, open Show More, open Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.  Also look for research guides on your subject among the Harvard Library research guides (Open Guides by Subject).

Because there are so many subscription databases, and because each database often includes numerous subcollections, it is difficult to know which databases may contain the sources you want.  For example, Vietnam War and American Foreign Policy, 1960-1975 (ProQuest History Vault) includes U.S. State Department Office of the Executive Secretariat Crisis Files. Part 1, the Berlin Crisis, 1957-1963.  Detailed instructions for finding these subcollections.

Local Online Sources

Many sources digitized by local public libraries, historical societies and other institutions may be found via the Digital Public Library of America, the state/regional portals, and worldwide, via the tools listed below.  But some will not be findable. For local sources one may visit the websites of nearby institutions.

Library Directories

Library Resources outside the U.S. (Brown University) offers overviews of library resources worldwide

Archival Directories

Historical Society Directories

Digitized Harvard Collections

Harvard Digital Collections offers item level access to digitized resources.

CURIOSity Digital Collections  offers collection level access to digitized resources.

Harvard Law School Library Digital Collections

More information in Finding Harvard's Unique or Distinctive Primary Sources: Original and Digital

Digital Libraries/Collections by Region or Language


Endangered Archives Programme offers digitized material (manuscripts, rare printed books, documents, newspapers, periodicals, photographs and sound recordings) (largely pre -mid-20th century) at risk of loss or decay in countries worldwide.  When looking fo.r material on a country, use Search all endangered archives. Do not rely on Related places or Project country (on the left).

Digital Library for International Research (DLIR) offers printed and manuscript material from numerous countries worldwide. Search/browse level: Collection, Item

Lists of Digital Collections

Other Libraries' Research Guides are often contains Lists of Digital Collections

In Google Advanced Search

  • all these words: library [your topic keywords]
  • any of these words: guides research resources
  • site or domain: .edu  [or or country domain, etc.]



Periodicals and Newspapers

Sources for Newspapers: Guide to Newspapers and Newspaper Indexes

Union List of Digitized Jewish Historic Newspapers, Periodicals and e-Journals


General Digital Libraries

African Activist Archive (1950s-1990s) includes: pamphlets, newsletters, leaflets, buttons, posters, photographs, and audio/video recordings relating to social justice activism in supporting Africans.  Offers an international directory of non-digitized collections in repositories worldwide.

African Online Digital Library  (AODL) (Michigan State Univ) offers photographs, videos, archival documents, maps, interviews and oral histories in numerous African languages.

Aluka Digital Library images and full text concerning: World Heritage Sites: Africa and Struggles for Freedom in Southern Africa.

Digital Innovation South Africa is a digital library on the socio-political history of South Africa.

The Liberated Africans Project contains information on Africans liberated by international efforts, 1808-1896, to abolish the Atlantic slave trade. Includes material in the British National Archives and the Sierra Leone National Archives offers pamphlets, newspaper articles and other material on the history of Lagos.


Akkasah Photographic Archive at NYU Abu Dhabi offers over 9000 photographs of the Middle East and North Africa 

Lists of Digital Collections

Africana Library Catalogs & Archives  (Columbia)

African Studies Internet Resources (Columbia) 

Primary Source Collections Online: Africa

History: Africa: Primary Sources (Univ. of Wisc.)


The AsiaPortal e-resources collection "focuses primarily on resources for  studies of modern and contemporary Asia defined as Central Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Oceania. There are databases, information rich websites, e-books and journals. Most resources are freely available, but some are licensed only for use by students and staff at Nordic NIAS Council"

Asia, East

Japan Search digital archive search tool

Asia, South

Lahore University of Management Sciences Digital Library

National Digital Library of India

University of Tubingen Hermann Gundert Portal (Indian Language Printed Material and Manuscript Collections)

University of Wisconsin Bhopal Disaster Archive

National Archives of India Digital Collections

Gokhale Library (Maharashtra, India) Printed Reports

Asiatic Society of Mumbai Digital Collections

West Bengal Public Library Network

South Asia Open Archive extensive archive of South Asian materials including several collections in the English language


South Asian Culture: South Asian Cultural Archives and Resources for Study Resources

Short Guide to Online Archives for Students (Archives of Economic Life in South and Southeast Asia)


Harvard University Stuart Cary Welch Islamic and South Asian Photograph Collection

Asia, Southeast

Cornell South East Asia Collections

Kerala Sahitya Akademi Portal (Malayalam Language)

National Archives of Singapore Digital Collections

Neliti: Indonesia's Research Repository offers 300,000 books, datasets and journal articles from Southeast Asia.

Shiju Alex Kerala History Archive (mainly consisting of printed texts in Malayalam but also including several English language Missionary papers)

Southeast Asia Digital Library


Short Guide to Online Archives for Students (Archives of Economic Life in South and Southeast Asia)


Trove: Online Research Portal

Pacific Digital Library offers digitized records of Pacific cultural heritage, held worldwide, so that people in and of Pacific can connect with their stories.


Pacific digital resources (National Library of Australia)

History: Australia, New Zealand & Oceania: Primary Sources (U. Washington)


Canadian National Digital Heritage Index

The Glenbow Archives online collections (1860s-1990s) offers archival records relating to Calgary, southern Alberta and Western Canada.  Special focus:  indigenous history, Mounted Police, pioneer life, ranching and agriculture, the petroleum industry, politics (especially the farmers movement), labour and unions, women, the arts (especially theatre), and business.



PORT (University of London) offers descriptions of European libraries, archives, and cultural institutions.

CERL Resources (Consortium of European Research Libraries)

      Includes link to Online Manuscripts Databases and Projects

General digital libraries

Early European Books offers full text of books published on the Continent, beginnings to 1701. Not full text searchable. Overview of contents.

Central and Eastern European Online Library  is an online archive which provides access to full text PDF articles from 441 humanities and social science journals and re-digitized documents pertaining to Central, Eastern and South-Eastern European topics.

Virtual Library Eastern Europe (ViFaOst)

Digital Scriptorium is an image database of medieval and renaissance manuscripts from many American institutions

TEMPO: Early Modern Pamphlets Online (1486-1853) currently includes about 47,000 pamphlets largely in Dutch, German and Latin.

Post-Reformation Digital Library (PRDL) offers digitized works Reformation and Post-Reformation/Early Modern theology and philosophy. “Late medieval and patristic works printed and referenced in the early modern era are also included”.

Tools for Finding Digitized Material

Europeana: Cultural collections of Europe is the largest European search engine for digitized books, images, manuscripts, etc. Searches catalogs records of material contributed by numerous repositories.  Not full text searchable; links to full text.  Similar to the Digital Library of America.  Search tips.

European Navigator documents the development of a united Europe from 1945 on.

Lists of Digital Libraries and Collections

European History Primary Sources is an index of scholarly websites providing access to primary sources. Offers collection level search.

EuroDocs: Online Sources for European History: Selected Transcriptions, Facsimiles and Translations. List of digitized documents by country

History: Europe: Primary Sources (Berkeley)

Medieval Digital Resources (Medieval Academy of America)

MICHAEL: Multilingual Inventory of Cultural Heritage in Europe searches digital collections at the collection rather than the item level from European museums, archives and libraries.  Contains material not in Base, Europeana or EROMM

Open Access in Central and Eastern Europe contains scientific and secondary source open access as well as historical primary sources.

Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia: A Research Guide: Digital Libraries and Web Resources (Princeton)

Selected Internet Resources for History (Western Europe)

WessWeb (Western European Studies Section, Association of College and Research Libraries)

Judaica Europeana: a network of museums, libraries and archives

Periodicals and Newspapers

Sources for periodicals: Finding Articles in General and Popular Periodicals (North America and Western Europe)

Sources for Newspapers: Guide to Newspapers and Newspaper Indexes


Kulturpool – a portal for cultural institutions in Austria with a search interface for their digital collections

Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Digital Reading Room

Bildarchiv Austria: Historic photographs

Czech Republic

Kramerius - Digital Library of Czech Books and Periodicals. 19th - early 20th centuries.

Czech web archive 


General Digital Libraries

ARTFL Project (American and French Research on the Treasury of the French Language)

Classiques Garnier Numérique offers the Bibliographie de la littérature française, together with collections of French language primary texts and reference works, including French and francophone literature (Europe, Africa, Indian Ocean, Americas, Asia) and dictionaries and grammars from the 9th to the 20th century.

Gallica includes the full-text for more than 100,000 volumes and 300,000 images covering the Middle Ages to the beginning of the twentieth century, with an emphasis on nineteenth-century material. Included are dictionaries and encyclopedias, journals, manuscripts, recordings and images.

Lists of Digital Collections

French and Francophone Digital Humanities Projects (ACRL)

History: Europe: France (Berkeley)

Tools for Finding Digitized Material

Paris: Bibliotheques patrimoniales. Catalog of Paris libraries with links to digitized material.

Réseau francophone numérique contains digitized historical material from French-speaking countries worldwide.

Patrimoine numérique. Catalogue des collections numérisées

Bibliothèque Francophone Numérique.  Scroll down for Découvrez les Collections par Zones Géographiques.

Digital Humanities Database. A searchable database of French and Francophone Studies digital projects. Collection/project level search.


Clio Guide. Ein Handbuch zu digitalen Ressourcen für die Geschichtswissenschaften

Digital Libraries

Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek offers textual and visual resources contributed by numerous libraries, archives, and museums.  Searches catalog records, not full text, and links to the items on the contributors' websites.  Contains many individual items, such as letters and photographs, from digital collections.

Deutsches Textarchiv (1650-1900) includes texts from numerous subject areas. Description.

Göttinger Digitalisierungs-Zentrum hosts a large collection of mainly, but not exclusively, German books in several subject areas.

Zentrales Verzeichnis Digitalisierter Drucke (ZVDD) is the German national portal for digitized scholarly imprints. Searches easily limited by century of publication.

Bayerische Landesbibliothek Online

Münchener Digitalisierungszentrum: Open-access collection of digitized books and other content held by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (München). Historischen Dokumenten- und Quellensammlung zur deutschen Geschichte ab 1800 (1800- ) is a large collection of full text German primary documents.

Datenbank Schrift und Bild 1900-1960 offers German language texts and photographs

Digitised Fonds: Direct access to the Federal Archives' files available online

Lists of Digital Collections

German Studies: Digital Collections (ACRL)

The German Studies Collaboratory

Germanistik im Netz: Catalog search

Kulturerbe Digital  offers links to search engines for German digitized material, together with a searchable and browsable list of digitization projects.

Clio-online: Fachportal für die Geschichtswissenschaften (Largely German)

Inventory of Digital Projects in German Studies or From German-Speaking CountriesHistory page (Link dead in site)

Digitale Sammlungen: Liste digitaler Sammlungen mit deutschsprachigen gemeinfreien Büchern


Academy of Athens Digital Repository (for manuscripts) and  Digital Library (for the Academy's works and for their rare books collection)

Anemi - Digital Library of Modern Greek Studies


Hungarian Electronic Library


Digital Repository of Ireland


Internet Culturale: cataloghi e collezioni digitali delle biblioteche Italiane/Biblioteca Digitale Italiana

Storia Digitale: Contenuti Online per la Storia

The Netherlands


History: Europe: Netherlands & Low Countries (Berkeley)

Digital Libraries

Dutch National Library offers digitized works

Early Dutch Books Online (1781-1800) contains 10,000 books from the Dutch-speaking region. (-2000) contains full text of numerous secondary and primary books and periodicals in Dutch history


Digital Libraries

Polona: Poland  Virtual archive

National Digital Library Polona. Middle Ages - mid-20th century.

Polish digital libraries federation offers online collections of Polish cultural and scientific institutions.


University Library in Poznan: Digital Libraries

Polish History and Culture

Russia/Eastern Europe

National Digital Library (Russia)

FEB-web - Fundamental Digital Library of Russian Literature. Middle Ages to present.


Digital Resources for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies describes online resources available via Harvard digital platforms or produced and freely accessible outside the Harvard system
--Note the Open Access link on the Archives page. At Please find our list of open access resources for research in Soviet History there is a large list of resources.

International and Area Studies Library (Univ. of Illinois)

Slavic Studies: Resources for the study of Slavic cultures, literatures, and languages.

Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia: A Research Guide: Digital Libraries and Web Resources (Princeton)

History: Europe: Russia (Berkeley)

History: Europe: Other Eastern Europe (Berkeley)


Digital National Library of Serbia


Digital Library of Slovenia


Biblioteca Digital Hispánica

Biblioteca Virtual del Patrimonio Bibliográfico offers digitized manuscripts and early printed books from Spanish libraries and archives.

Digital Memory of Instituto Cervantes

Hispana: directorio y recolector de recursos digitales is a central index of over 4 million digital objects from 195 repositories and 326 different projects throughout Spain.


ALVIN: Platform for digital collections and digitized cultural heritage


E-Codices, Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland, the platform for digitized rare books from Swiss libraries:

United Kingdom/English Language

General Digital Libraries

Searching Early English Books Online (EEBO), Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) and Early American Imprints.
Since spelling in early books is variable and the long s (which looks like an f) is often used, it is important to try variant spellings and the wild card feature. ECCO offers fuzzy searching in Advanced Search

Both Early English Books Online (EEBO) and Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) contain full text of most books published 1475-1800 in Great Britain and North America and books published in English anywhere.

Early English Books Online (EEBO) offers full text for works, including much ephemera and many periodicals, dated 1475-1700. Uses Library of Congress Subject Headings.

EEBO uses page images and OCR text. Although searchable by words and phrases, there are character recognition errors and full Boolean searching is not possible. Early English Books Online Text Creation Partnership has input over 25,000 works and offers corrected text and full Boolean and other search capabilities for this subset of EEBO.

Periodicals included in EEBO include corantos, newsbooks and periodicals included in the Thomason TractsPeriodicals Search guide.

Search Guide: Early English Books Online (EEBO)

Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) offers full text for English language works dated 1700-1800. Uses Library of Congress Subject Headings. Searchable by words and phrases based on the OCR text. Many 18th century American imprints are not included in ECCO because they are available in Early American Imprints (EAI) (next).

Both EEBO and ECCO are based on the English Short Title Catalog (ESTC) which has over 470,000 catalog (no full text) entries listing books, periodicals, newspapers and some ephemera printed before 1801. Works published in Britain, Ireland, British colonies, and the US are included, together with items printed elsewhere which contain significant text in English, Welsh, Irish or Gaelic. Books falsely claiming London publication are included. Items omitted from ECCO because they are available in EAI are represented in the ESTC. Reprints (reissues of original works) are not usually included in ECCO; they are fully represented in the ESTC.

NINES (Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship) (1770-1920) searches (full text search available) selected digital scholarship and primary source databases related to the British and American long 19th century. Where fee-based material is found, you will have to go through Harvard Library E-Resources; no automatic link to Harvard resources is available.

British History Online (11th-19th cent.) offers printed primary and secondary sources for the history of the British Isles. These resources cover ecclesiastical and religious history, intellectual and cultural history, local history, urban development, economic history, parliamentary history, and administrative and legal matters.

Lists of Digital Collections

Tools for Finding Digitized Material

Culture Grid is a UK national aggregator for museum collections information.  Culture Grid contributes records to Europeana.

Connected Histories: British History Sources, 1500-1900 provides federated searching for several databases of British primary historical sources, including the primary source content of British History Online for 1500-1900.

Manuscripts Online (1000 to 1500) searches a variety of online resources on manuscript and early printed culture in Britain. Includes literary manuscripts, historical documents and early printed books on websites of libraries, archives, universities and publishers. Some of the resources searched are only accessible via subscription. These resources allow free snippet results but do not provide full access.
Project blog.

Connected Histories and Manuscripts Online are not integrated into the Try Harvard Library system. When you find something in a licensed/subscription database only a snippet view will display, and you will need to go to the same resource in the Harvard system (if we have it) and redo the search.

Finding the Right Subscription Database

Connected Histories and Manuscripts Online (above) include both free and subscription databases.


British Library Images Online

Images of Empire (British Empire & Commonwealth Museum)

John Johnson Collection: an archive of printed ephemera (18th-20th centuries). Collection, housed in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, documents everyday life in Britain.

Science & Society Picture Library offers over 50,000 images from the Science Museum (London), the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television and the National Railway Museum.

Visual Arts Data Service (VADS) offers images of art, design, and posters.

Indian Ocean

Bibliothéque numérique contains a collection of digitized Mauritian rare books, journals, annual reports and government documents.

Latin America/Caribbean

Biblioteca Digital del Patrimonio Iberoamericano
Contains manuscripts, sound recordings, newspapers, maps, drawings, and other primary source materials from the national libraries of Latin American countries,

Caribbean Memory Project

Catálogo Colectivo de Impresos Latinoamericanos (1539-1850) offers a union catalog of Spanish/Portuguese letterpress material printed in Latin America, Caribbean, United States and Philippines.

Digital Library of the Caribbean
Digitized archival materials originating in the Caribbean and also Latin American beyond the Caribbean. Collections, subjects covered, and types of materials included.

Early Caribbean Digital Archive

Gale World Scholar Latin America & the Caribbean Archive includes primary source documents, academic journals and news feeds, reference sources, maps, statistics, audio and video

Manioc: Bibliothèque numérique Caraïbe, Amazonie, Plateau des Guyanes

Sabin Americana Digital Archive (1500-1926) searchable full text of European writings on the Americas. DescriptionOn Joseph Sabin.

Mexico Digital Library


Latin American & Caribbean Digital Primary Sources (Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials)
A listing of freely available digitized collections of various types of primary source materials from many Latin American countries.

History: Latin America: Primary Sources (University of Washington guide)

History: Latin America (Berkeley)

Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC)
Guide to Latin American material on the Web, with links to primary sources.

Middle East

Discovering the Treasures of the National Library (Israel)

Qatar Digital Library

Shamela Free Digital Collection of Arabic Books

Waqfeya Arabic books with a focus on Islamic Religious Sciences

Duke University Libraries, Ottoman-Turkish Literature

IRCICA FARABİ digital library (Turkey)

American University in Cairo Digital Collections

University of Hamburg, Islamic Printed Page project

Hebrew Books

Digital Library of the Middle East


Harvard University Stuart Cary Welch Islamic and South Asian Photograph Collection

Akkasah – Digitised Photographs from the Middle East and North Africa

American Centre for Oriental Resources Library Photo Archive

Arab Image Foundation Archive (Non Profit archive of Middle Eastern images based in Beirut) 

ArchNet archive of Middle Eastern Built Environments, curated by the Aga Khan Documentation Centre at MIT

Das Bild des Orients. Searchable in German and English

Levantine Heritage Foundation

Middle East Photograph Archive (University of Chicago)

Palestine Poster Project Archives

Saudi Aramco World Digital Archive (1964- ) Aramco World magazine, published/unpublished images


Field Guide to Islamic Law Online Archives & Library Collections

Manuscripts | Digital Resources and Projects in Islamic Studies

Online Archives, Digitized Collections and Resources for Middle East, North African, and Islamic(ate) Studies (Hazine)

Orient-Institut Istanbul: Databases, portals, and virtual libraries

Access to Middle East and Islamic Resources (AMIR). Blog with links to numerous online resources on Teaching and Learning in this region

Middle East & Islamic Studies Collection Digital Collections

United States

General Digital Libraries

The Digital Public Library of America offers textual, visual, and sound resources contributed by numerous libraries, archives, and museums.  Searches catalog records, not full text, and links to the items on the contributors' websites.  Contains many individual items, such as letters and photographs, from digital collections.

Digital Libraries by State

These websites list hundreds of local, state, and regional resources. Each is different and some are better designed than others.  Very useful when your topic has a regional focus.

American Broadsides and Ephemera, Series 1, 1760-1900

Early American Imprints, Series 1 (1639-1800) and Early American Imprints, Series 2 (1801-1819) are based on the microform collection of books, pamphlets and broadsides issued in America recorded in Charles Evans' American Bibliography and Roger P. Bristol's Supplement to Charles Evans' American Bibliography, and in American Bibliography: A Preliminary Checklist for 1801-1819 by Ralph Shaw and Richard Shoemaker.

For the colonial era, overlaps with Early English Books Online and Eighteenth Century Collections Online.

Sabin Americana Digital Archive (1500-1926) searchable full text of writings on the Americas, including many European works. DescriptionOn Joseph Sabin.

NINES (Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship) (1770-1920) searches (full text search available) selected digital scholarship and primary source databases related to the British and American long 19th century. Where fee-based material is found, you will have to go through Harvard Library E-Resources; no automatic link to Harvard resources is available.

American Pamphlets, Series 1, 1820-1922 offers pamphlets held at the New York Historical Society.

Nineteenth Century in Print: The Making of America in Books and Periodicals

American Memory (Library of Congress)

National Archives (US) Catalog - Can be limited to archival materials online

Microfilm Publications and Original Records Digitized by Our Digitization PartnersAncestryFold3FamilySearch. National Archives.

Electronic Reading Rooms of US government departments are listed on the FOIA site. Scroll down to View the full list of agencies and choose your agency. Under Select an Office, choose the office of the Secretary or equivalent central office.

Lists of Digital Collections

AMDOCS: Documents for the Study of American History: Online documents arranged by year

BlackPast offers resources on the history of African America and people of African ancestry worldwide.

Umbra Search African American History

Discovering American Women's History Online. Offers collection level search.  Another version.

MEAD: The Magazine of Early American Datasets is an online repository of datasets on early North America. Datasets are in original format and as comma-separated-value files (.csv). Each dataset accompanied by codebook.

U.S. History: Primary Source Collections Online (SHSU)

Primary Sources for United States History (RUSA)

Periodicals and Newspapers

Sources for periodicals: Finding Articles in General and Popular Periodicals (North America and Western Europe)

Sources for Newspapers: Guide to Newspapers and Newspaper Indexes


Images of America: a history of American life in images and texts is the online version of thousands of books in the Arcadia US local history series. The histories Includes photographs from archives, historical societies and private collections. Images and text are fully searchable. Searchable by location, person, event, date, ethic group and organization. Search HOLLIS+ HOLLIS tab Advanced search as Series (exact phrase) Images of America for the print books.

American Landscape and Architectural Design, 1850-1920 contains about 2,800 lantern slide views of American buildings and landscapes.

Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920 (Library of Congress) photograph collection includes over 25,000 items, mostly of the eastern U.S., with subject index and keyword searchable.

History of the American West (1860-1920) offers over 30,000 photographs from the Denver Public Library.

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog