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Databases of primary sources

This is an alphabetical list of the databases of primary sources. The Library subscribes to most of them, whilst some are openly available on the web. 


NameOnline or CD_ROMArea of focusCenturiesDescription
Adam Matthew Explorer Online North America; Europe; Asia Adam Matthew (AM Explorer) resources includes collections spanning the social sciences and humanities, developed in collaboration with leading libraries and archives ;  guides to discover millions of pages of unique primary source content which empower students and researchers to develop critical thinking ; digital collections that transform teaching and research on important themes such as: Borders and Migrations, Gender and Sexuality, Global History, and War and Conflict. Single point of access through AM Explorer with built-in federated search functionality across all collections. It includes additional features to enhance student engagement such as Handwritten Text Recognition, Data Visualisation, Video and Oral Histories
Age of Exploration (Adam Matthew) Online North America; South America; Central America; Asia; Africa 16th; 17th; 18th; 19th; 20th This multi-archive collection focuses on European, maritime exploration from the earliest voyages of Vasco da Gama and Christopher Columbus, through the age of discovery, the search for the ‘New World’, the establishment of European settlements on every continent, to the eventual discovery of the Northwest and Northeast Passages, and the race for the Poles.
Arcanum Online Hungary 18th; 19th; 20th; 21st Online full text database of Hungarian scientific journals, encyclopedias, newpapers, and monographic series from the 1800s to the present. Online Portugal 20th; 21st – the Portuguese web-archive is a research infrastructure that enables search and access to files archived from the web since 1996. Its main objective is the preservation of information published on the Web for research purposes.
Central and Eastern European Online Library Online Croatia; Czechia; Estonia; Greece; Hungary; Latvia; Lithuania; Macedonia; Montenegro; Poland; Romania; Russia; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Turkey; Ukraine Central and Eastern Europe Online Library is an online archive which provides access to full text PDF articles from 2000 humanities and social science journals, 4500 electronic books and re-digitised documents pertaining to Central, Eastern and South-Eastern European topics.
Church Missionary Society Periodicals (Adam Matthew) Online North America; South America; Asia; Central America; Africa 19th; 20th The rich and diverse publications of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) shed light on key events since the beginning of the 19th century. With active mission stations in every continent, the published journals, letters and reports represent a truly global perspective on not only evangelism and mission history but conflict, colonialism and globalisation.
CIDEHUS Digital Online Portugal 15th; 16th; 17th CIDEHUS Digital is a data repository. In open access, it offers an increasing volume of materials, encouraging its reuse. It makes the past more accessible through the technologies of the present and contributes to the constant (re)making of science. It comprises databases, collections and reference works, multimedia materials, sources and cartography tools. In this already relevant set, the contents of some of the old volumes of the «Virtual Library of Portuguese Discoveries» stand out, which, with the consent of the Directorate-General for Books, Archives and Libraries, are now available under the name of «Ophir Restored».
Colonial Caribbean: CO Files from The National Archives, UK (Adam Matthew) Online Central America 17th; 18th; 19th This extensive digital resource covers three centuries of Caribbean history. Drawn from the vast archives of the British Colonial Office, this is simply an essential resource for all students and researchers of the Caribbean and British colonial rule. This enormous range of unique primary sources covers British governance of 25 islands in the Caribbean from 1624-1872, meeting teaching and research needs across a wide variety of themes, from settlement and colonial rivalries in the region, to the economics of the plantation systems and the impact of slavery, to crime and punishment and the everyday lives of the people that called the islands home.
Consortium for History of Science, Technology and Medicine Special Collections Search Hub Online Europe, North America 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th,  Search for keywords in nearly 6 million catalog records and 40,000 finding aids for rare books, manuscripts, images, media and artifacts at member institutions. (Circulating collections are not included.)
Defining Gender (Adam Matthew) Online UK 16th; 17th; 18th; 19th; 20th Defining Gender provides access to a vast body of original British source material to enrich the teaching and research experience of those studying history, literature, sociology and education from a gendered perspective.
Students and scholars are provided the opportunity to research the ideals of social conduct, power distribution within the family, consumption and leisure, education of men and women and gendered perceptions of the body to analyse and challenge the changing views and ideas surrounding traditional gender roles.
Digital library dell’Archivio Centrale dello Stato Online Italy 14th; 15th; 17th; 16th; 18th; 20th; 19th; 21st Approximately 1,500 inventories of the Italian Central State Archive are available for remote research, browsable and searchable word by word thanks to OCR standards. Thousands of documents, photographs and posters are also available in the interoperable IIIF format. 
Documents on Irish Foreign Policy Online Ireland 20th Documents on Irish Foreign Policy (DIFP) is a public history project for the study of modern Irish history through diplomacy. DIFP aims to make the history of Irish foreign policy accessible to all and promotes public engagement with the history of Ireland’s international relations. DIFP is a partnership project of the Royal Irish Academy, the National Archives, and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Early English books online Online UK; Ireland 15th; 16th; 17th Collection of online text editions of works originally published between 1473-1700, listed in Pollard & Redgrave's Short-title catalogue, Wing's Short title catalogue or the Thomason tracts. Titles in the collection cover literature, philosophy, politics, religion, geography, science and all other areas of human endeavour.
Early European Books Online Europe 15th; 16th; 17th All works printed in Europe before 1701, regardless of language, fall within the scope of the project. Early European Books offers full-colour, high-resolution (400 ppi) facsimile images scanned directly from the original printed sources. Each item in the collection is captured in its entirety, complete with its binding, edges, endpapers, blank pages, and any loose inserts, providing scholars with a wealth of information about the physical characteristics and provenance histories of the original artefacts.
Access to collections depends on the IP address of the user. The following libraries have negotiated free country-wide access to the materials contributed to EEB by the source library and for the duration of the partnership agreement.
The Royal Danish Library – Kongelige Bibliotek (Copenhagen, Denmark)
The National Central Library of Florence – Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (Florence, Italy)
The National Library of the Netherlands – Koninklijke Bibliotheek (The Hague, The Netherlands)
The Wellcome Library - The Wellcome Library (London, United Kingdom).
Early Modern England (Adam Matthew) Online UK 16th; 17th; 18th This collection of primary sources looks at two centuries of everyday, political, religious, working, trading and administrative life in England during this pivotal epoch. Documents cover an array of topics relating to England during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with a significant focus on the lives of ‘everyday’ people. Volumes of correspondence from more prominent families look at governance, politics, monarchy, relations between landowners and tenants, war, politics and relations with England’s neighbours. The materials offer in-depth case studies of different regions in England from the South East to the Scottish Borders allowing for comparison of experience across the country.
East India Company (Adam Matthew) Online Asia; UK 17th; 18th; 19th From 16th century origins as a trading venture to the East Indies, through to its rise as the world’s most powerful company and de facto ruler of India, to its demise amid allegations of greed and corruption – the East India Company was an extraordinary force in global history. From the Company’s charter in 1600 to Indian independence in 1947, East India Company tells the story of trade with the East; politics; and the rise and fall of the British Empire. It records the challenges of a globalising world and sheds light on many contrasting narratives – from records of powerful political figures, through to the lives of native populations and the individual traders who lived and worked at the edge of Empire. This is simply an essential resource for scholarship of British imperial history; maritime trade; global commerce, and the history of the first great multinational corporation.
Eighteenth century collections online Online UK; USA 18th This database aims to include every significant English-language and foreign-language title printed in the United Kingdom, along with other important works from the Americas, between 1701 and 1800. Consists of books, pamphlets, broadsides, ephemera. Subject categories include history and geography; fine arts and social sciences; medicine, science, and technology; literature and language; religion and philosophy; law; general reference. Also included are significant collections of women writers of the eighteenth century, collections on the French Revolution, and numerous eighteenth-century editions of the works of Shakespeare. Where they add scholarly value or contain important differences, multiple editions of each individual work are offered.
Eighteenth Century Journals (Adam Matthew) Online UK; USA 19th Eighteenth Century Journals draws together material from some of the finest archives across the UK and the US, with the aim of representing the rich variety of the eighteenth century press. It is the first resource of its kind to make available unique and extremely rare eighteenth century periodicals online, each chosen to convey the eclecticism and evolution of the publishing world between 1685 and 1835.
Empire Online (Adam Matthew) Online USA; France; Portugal; UK; Germany; Spain; The Netherlands 15th; 16th; 17th; 18th; 19th; 20th With primary source material from American, French, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, German and British perspectives, Empire Online provides varying points-of-view for comparative research. Documents from Africa, India and North America are also featured. Students and researchers of colonial history, society, trade and travel, politics and culture are encouraged to explore a diverse range of topics and subjects from ship’s logs to missionaries in Africa. The vast selection of printed, manuscript and visual primary source documents available within this digital resource are supported with interactive teaching tools to enable the demonstration of the theories, practices and consequences of empire.
European population, 1850-1945 CD-ROM Europe 19th; 20th The European Population 1850-1945 is a comparative and historical data handbook and accompanying CD-ROM presenting series data on demographic developments, population and household structures for the countries of Western and Central Europe. All major fields of demographic change are covered: fertility, mortality, marriage, and divorce. Population figures are given for each population census by sex, civil status and age. Major demographic developments within the family are described providing a commentary on the main population structures and trends in Europe since the 19th century.
First World War Portal (Adam Matthew) Online Europe 20th From personal collections and rare printed material, to military files, ephemera and artwork, The First World War highlights the experiences of soldiers, civilians and governments on both sides of the conflict and in multiple theatres of war. Covering an array of international perspectives, the resource showcases intimate personal narratives, wartime propaganda and recruitment material, the truly global reach of the conflict, and the role of women in war through various documentary and visual forms.
Food and Drink in History (Adam Matthew) Online North America; South America; Central America; Asia; Europe; Africa The story of food and drink is a unique lens through which to view social and cultural history. The materials in this collection illustrate the deep links between food and identity, politics, power, gender, race, and socio-economic status, as well as charting key issues such as agriculture, nutrition, and food production. Explore a wide range of primary source material, including printed and manuscript cookbooks, advertising ephemera, government reports, films, and illustrated content - revealing the evolution of food and drink within everyday life and the public sphere. The unique material in this collection has been sourced from across the globe to reflect a wide range of food cultures and traditions, creating an unparalleled research resource.
Foreign Office Files for China, 1919-1980 (Adam Matthew) Online UK 20th Formerly restricted British Foreign Office files dealing with China, Hong Kong and Taiwan between 1919 and 1980.
Foreign Office Files for India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, 1947-1980 (Adam Matthew) Online Asia; UK 20th This is a resource for the political and social history of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in this period, featuring essential content on Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and Kashmir, as well as other frontier regions.
Foreign Office Files for Japan, 1919-1952 (Adam Matthew) Online UK 20th This collection provides significant insight into the events between First World War victory and Second World War defeat, crucial to understanding the political journey of Japan during this period.
Foreign Office Files for Southeast Asia, 1963-1980 (Adam Matthew) Online Asia; UK 20th This collection offers an insight into the significant changes that took place in Southeast Asia during 1963-1980, including the creation of Malaysia and the response to this from the wider region.
Foreign Office Files for the Middle East, 1971-1981 (Adam Matthew) Online UK; Middle East 20th Providing an invaluable resource for researchers and students seeking to understand the modern Middle East, this collection contains complete runs of Foreign Office files, providing an expansive view of key events and their global political impact.
Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) Online USA 19th; 20th The Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity.
Frantext  Online France 14th; 15th; 16th; 17th; 18th; 19th; 20th; 21st FRANTEXT is a major corpus of French texts spanning the 16th to 20th centuries. The database currently contains the full text of approximately 3500 works, of which 80% are literary texts, the other 20% being mainly scientific texts.
Fünfzig Jahre Deutsche Mark: monetäre Statistiken 1948-1997 CD-ROM Germany 20th This CD-ROM (in German) contains approximately 25 000 long time series taken from the German Bank's monetary statistics on trends in the monetary and banking systems, the capital market and external relations from 1948 to 1997.
Gender: Identity and Social Change (Adam Matthew) Online North America; Europe 19th; 20th; 21st Explore records from men’s and women’s organisations, advice literature and etiquette books to reveal developing gender roles and relations. Gain an insight into changing societal expectations about gender roles through personal diaries and correspondence and explore the life and careers of key figures and pioneers in gender history.
Global Commodities (Adam Matthew) Online North America; South America; Europe; Central America; Asia; Africa 17th; 18th; 19th; 20th Explore the histories of fifteen key commodities that changed the world through a wide range of manuscript sources, rare books, maps, advertising, paintings, photographs and ephemera
Grand Tour (Adam Matthew) Online Europe 16th; 17th; 18th; 19th Taking the phenomenon of the Grand Tour as a starting point, this resource explores the relationship between Britain and Europe from c.1550 to 1850, exploring the Anglo-European response to continental travel for pleasure, business and diplomacy. This digital collection of manuscript, visual and printed works allows students and researchers to explore and compare a range of sources on the history of travel for the first time, including many from private or neglected collections.
Historische Bibliographie online Online Germany   The Historical Bibliography Online (HBO) contains 358,551 bibliographic entries on historical specialist literature that was published between 1990 and 2013: monographs, articles from journals and collective works. It is supplemented by 8,758 entries on historical research work that were unpublished up to 2013.
Jahresberichte für deutsche Geschichte Online Germany 20th The academy project "Annual Reports on German History" records and indexes German and foreign-language publications on German history from the Roman-Germanic period to the present.
Leisure, Travel and Mass Culture (Adam Matthew) Online USA 19th; 20th This collection charts the development of one of the world’s largest and most culturally significant industries. The growth of leisure travel has profoundly influenced global society in the past two hundred years and the unique primary sources in this resource allow scholars and students to trace the evolution and impact of this phenomenon.
Literary Print Culture The Stationers’ Company Archive, London (Adam Matthew) Online UK 16th; 17th; 18th; 19th; 20th The archive of the Stationers’ Company is widely regarded as one of the most important sources for studying the history of the book, publishing and copyright. The Company was instrumental in the development of the printed book in early modern England, exerting enormous power over the publishing industry as it developed.  This resource provides essential primary sources for students and scholars of English literature, Renaissance theatre, and print culture from the early modern period to the twentieth century.
Macmillan Cabinet Papers, 1957-1963 Online UK 20th Macmillan Cabinet Papers, 1957-1963 provides complete coverage of the Cabinet conclusions (minutes) and memoranda of Harold Macmillan’s government, plus selected minutes and memoranda of policy committees.
Making of the modern world Online Europe 16th; 17th; 18th; 19th The Making of the Modern World (MOMW) brings together two collections of primary source material in a single search interface. MOMW Part I draws on the Goldsmiths'-Kress Library of Economic Literature 1450-1850, providing digital facsimile images on every page of 62,400 works of literature on economic and business published from 1450 through 1850. MOMW Part II extends the original collection to include works published from 1851 through 1914. Full-text searching and Text-Mining on the more than 11 million pages is now possible within this vast collection of material on commerce, finance, social conditions, politics, industrialization, trade and transport. Bibliographic records for individual titles included in both MOMW Part I and MOMW Part II are included in the EUI Library Catalogue.
Mass Observation Online Online UK 20th A pioneering social research organisation, Mass Observation was founded in 1937 by anthropologist Tom Harrisson, film-maker Humphrey Jennings and poet Charles Madge. Their aim was to create an 'anthropology of ourselves', and by recruiting a team of observers and a panel of volunteer writers they studied the everyday lives of ordinary people in Britain. This landmark digital project opens up revolutionary access to the archive. 
Medical Services and Warfare (Adam Matthew) Online Europe; USA 19th; 20th This collection focuses on the Crimean War, the American Civil War, the First World War, and the Second World War among other conflicts. The impact on medicine during peacetime is also charted, notably through documents relating to the influenza epidemic of 1918 and post-war rehabilitation.
Migration to New Worlds (Adam Matthew) Online North America; Australia 19th; 20th Unique primary source diaries, correspondence, photographs, oral histories and journals narrate the vivid realities of ocean travel and life in adopted homelands. Organisational correspondence, government proceedings, shipping company papers and records of advocacy groups provide key context to migrants’ everyday struggles.
Le Monde (1944-2000) Online France 20th-21st Written in the French language and covering leading issues and events, like World War II and the Fifth Republic, to French, European and international politics, society and business, ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Le Monde reveals the day-to-day news coverage valued by researchers.
Nineteenth century British pamphlets Online UK 19th Throughout the 19th century, pamphlets were an important means of public debate, covering the key political, social, technological, and environmental issues of their day. 19th Century British Pamphlets, created by Research Libraries UK (RLUK), contains the most significant British pamphlets from the 19th century held in research libraries in the United Kingdom.
The digitisation of more than 26,000 pamphlets from collections in seven universities in the UK spanning more than one million pages brings together a corpus of primary sources for the study of sociopolitical and economic factors impacting 19th-century Britain.
Perdita Manuscripts, 1500-1700 (Adam Matthew) Online UK 16th; 17th; 18th This resource is produced in association with the Perdita Project based at the University of Warwick and Nottingham Trent University. Their goal was to identify and describe all manner of writing by early modern women from diaries to works of drama. We have now enhanced their ground-breaking work by linking the new detailed catalogue descriptions with complete digital facsimiles of the original manuscripts. The result is a resource which is indispensable for anyone interested in women and women's writing in Early Modern Britain.
Popular Culture in Britain and America, 1950-1975 (Adam Matthew) Online UK; USA 20th From the austerity of the 1950s to the excess of the 1970s, discover the period through a wealth of printed and manuscript sources, visual material, ephemera and video clips.
Poverty, Philanthropy and Social Conditions in Victorian England (Adam Matthew) Online UK 19th This digital resource documents the interactions between government policy and public philanthropy in Victorian and early twentieth-century society, tracing developments in welfare reform and the social tensions surrounding poverty. Discover the conditions of workhouses and the administration of the new poor relief system through the official government correspondence of the Poor Law Commission, and explore the demonstrable shift in social conditions and welfare reform through a variety of material.
Reklame CD-ROM Germany 19th 1,081 posters from the collection of the Deutsches Historisches Museum, most of which were originally collected by Hans Sachs
Service Newspapers of World War Two (Adam Matthew) Online USA; Europe; Asia; Australia; Africa 20th Service Newspapers of World War Two contains an extensive range of both rare and well-known wartime publications for soldiers serving in major theatres around the world. Publications are included from many key nations involved in the conflict, such as the US, Canada, New Zealand, India, and the countries of Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Both Allied and Axis publications are presented, offering a broad view of the war and the experiences of those on its front lines.
Sex & Sexuality (Adam Matthew) Online USA; UK; Australia 19th; 20th; 21st Sex & Sexuality covers a broad range of topics and is drawn from leading archives around the world. From papers of leading sexologists, to LGBTQI+ personal histories, the collection is an essential resource for the study of human sexuality, its complexities and its history.
Trans-Atlantic slave trade CD-ROM Africa   Incorporates voyage records of 75 percent of all the slave ships sailing under British, French, Spanish, and Dutch flags between 1662 and 1860. The data details not only basic demographic characteristics of the African slaves mortality, age, sex but also detailed information on crew membership, conditions on slave ships, duration of voyages, the nature of slave resistance, business organization of slave traders, and the age and physical characteristics of vessels.
Virginia Company Archives (Adam Matthew) Online USA; UK 16th; 17th; 18th This resource documents the founding and economic development of Virginia as seen through the papers of the Virginia Company of London, 1606-1624. It shows the continuing interest of the Ferrar family in the settlement of North America from Jamestown to the Bermudas and provides a rich source for the study of trade between Britain and America
Women in The National Archives Online UK 16th; 17th; 18th; 19th; 20th A finding aid for women's studies resources in The National Archives, UK is presented alongside original documents on the suffrage question in Britain, the Empire and colonial territories.
Women writers online Online UK; USA 16th; 17th; 18th; 19th Women Writers Online, published by the Women Writers Project at Northeastern University, contains full-text editions of more than 420 texts texts by English and American women published between 1526 and 1850. It also includes introductory essays written by contemporary scholars about Renaissance women writers, their texts, and related topics. The site provides links to other textual databases, and a collection of syllabi.
Women's Studies (Adam Matthew) Online UK 18th; 19th; 20th A breadth of printed and manuscript sources, providing a multitude of perspectives on the changing roles of women in history. This collection offers access to the works and legacy of many notable and influential women, but also a chance to hear the voices of forgotten and ordinary women.
World War Two Studies (Adam Matthew) Online Europe; USA; Asia 20th Important primary sources, offering insight into many aspects of the war, including government policy, the war in the Pacific, and the war in Europe. Sources include the records of British espionage and sabotage organisation The Special Operations Executive; and private papers of American General Robert L Eichelberger from the Pacific war.

Page last updated on 26 March 2024

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