Find Primary Sources on the Web

The internet has provided access to a rapidly-growing number of primary source digital archives and collections. Below is a core list of websites that provide access to primary sources. With greater access to digital primary sources than ever before, it is important that researchers examine these resources critically and evaluate them carefully. It is critical that you examine and evaluate the authenticity of documents on the web, the qualifications of the organization or individual who provide access to the website, and whether or not the document on the website will suffice or if you need to examine the original copy of the item.

Calisphere is a free public gateway to thousands of digitized primary sources - including photographs, documents, newspaper clippings, works of art - from UC museums and libraries and other cultural heritage institutions across California.

American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library
Extensive digital collections from the Library of Congress Americana collections, including historical texts, audio, photographs, films, video, and documents.

Online Archive of California (OAC)
The OAC provides access to photographic images, documents, letters, oral histories and finding aids to archival collections in library, museum, archival and other institutional collections throughout California.

California Heritage Collection
Part of the OAC, provides access to a large collection of photographic images documenting California history and culture, from the collections of the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley.

New York Public Library Digital Gallery
Provides access to hundred of thousands of digital images, including manuscripts, maps, posters, prints, photographs, ephemera, and more.

SunSITE Digital Collections
A gateway to a wide variety of digital collections from UC Berkeley.

EuroDocs: Primary Historical Documents from Western Europe
Provides access to key historical documents related to European cultural, economic, political and social history.

Making of America
From the University of Michigan, a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction.

Other digital collections of primary sources are described in the UCI History Research Guide.

« Previous || Tutorial home || Next: Examples of Primary Source Tutorials from Other Libraries »