Which databases to search depends on your topic. Click beside a database for more details. Read the database description and think critically about whether it could support your research in terms of time, place, and topic.
CAUTION: Some databases contain both primary and secondary source content. Always pay attention to when and by whom a document was written to distinguish primary sources.
This video will give a quick demonstration of several tricks to help you locate primary sources in the library catalog.
1. Use the keyword "sources" in the subject row
2. Along with your topic keywords, add the keywords "documents OR documentary"
3. Along with your topic keywords, add keywords for specific kinds of sources (correspondence, diary, manuscripts, etc. - just separate them all with OR)
4. Click on Exact Search, Enter a person's name (backwards), and click subject. Browse for and click on subjects that include words like correspondence, manuscripts, sources, etc.
Many universities, government agencies, and historical associations provide digital libraries of primary sources on the Internet. Ask your professor to confirm, but websites like these are usually allowed.
If you are researching a certain city, state, or region, look for major digital collections created by that city or state.
Here are some key terms that indicate a website might provide you with a digital archive:
Terms like those listed above can be paired with keywords describing your topic and used in Google Advanced Search to discover digital archives; it is also very useful to limit your Google Advanced Search to a .edu or .gov domain. Watch the video on the right for a demonstration!
Note that a "digital exhibit" is not the same as a digital archive. You may find some useful primary sources in an exhibit, but it is important not to rely too heavily on these. Learn more.
Find LOTS more in the SHSU Library's Guide to "U.S. History Primary Source Collections Online." Note: that guide may also contain some online exhibits, so be sure to distinguish those from the archives.
Find LOTS more in the SHSU Library's Guide to "World History Primary Source Collections Online." Note: that guide may also contain some online exhibits, so be sure to distinguish those from the archives.