History 295 - The Historian's Craft

last modified 2019-09-11T13:58:08-04:00


Digital Archives / Libraries

Hathi Trust — Offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world. These resources come from contributing organizations such as university libraries, which include many primary source documents and other scholarly materials. The Hathi Trust categorizes its materials using subject headings like those found in a library catalog. 

National Archives — Website run by the National Archives and Records Association, which is a branch of the United States Government. You can search for documents related to the government, military, and other important historical events. Contains a number of online digitized exhibits.

Digital Public Library of America — The DPLA aggregates millions of documents from its member institutions (of which the Hathi Trust is a member). These can be searched using keywords and narrowing it down by collection and by organization. 

Internet History Sourcebooks Project (Fordham University) — A collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly (without advertising or excessive layout) for educational use. It offers a wide-range of documents on a variety of different subjects, which are broken down by geography and time-period.

Europeana — Provides access to millions of digitized objects -- books, music, artworks and more -- from EU member nations. The platform is searchable in English, but many written items will be in their original languages.

Library of Congress Digital Collections — Historical collections (primary documents, sound recordings, images, maps, etc.) that include such topics as advertising, African American history, and women's history.

Ancestry Library Edition — For ancestry/genealogy research. This database combines content from around 4,000 databases. Note: Available on-campus only. 

Documenting the American South — Sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this site includes digitized primary sources from several collections. Items include texts, images, and audio files related to Southern history, literature, and culture from the colonial period through the first decades of the 20th century.

HarpWeek — Searchable access to Harper's Weekly: 1857-1912. America's leading 19th century illustrated newspaper provides information on domestic and foreign life. Users can track the major political, social, and military stories of the day, along with the editorial comment, humor, literature, and even gossip related to them.

EuroDocs: Primary Historical Documents From Western Europe — A source for Western European (mainly primary) historical documents transcribed, reproduced in facsimile, or translated that shed light on key happenings within the respective countries and within the broadest sense of political, economic, social, and cultural history. The order of documents is chronological wherever possible.

Making of America (Cornell University) and Making of America (University of Michigan) — This collaborative project resulted in a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through Reconstruction. The two sites have the same scope, but different content.

Samuel J. May Anti-Slavery Collection — A rich and diverse set of materials from Cornell University on the anti-slavery movement of the 1800’s. Over 10,000 pamphlets and articles cover local and national topics.

Civil War Resources (Virginia Military Institute) — Contains letters and papers on a variety of Civil War topics and people, ranging from Stonewall Jackson to cadet life during the war. While not all items are offered in full text, descriptions are given of other items that may be found at the VMI archives.

Women in the Civil War (Duke University) — Digitized materials from Duke and other collections feature manuscripts on the role of women in the war, including their duties as soldiers and spies.

Private Voices — Part of the Corpus of American Civil War Letters Project (CACWL), this is a collection of thousands of letters written by Civil War soldiers who wrote "by ear." Almost all of these men were army privates, and their letters reveal a great deal about the lives and motivations of the Civil War's common soldiers.

Archive.org — Long running online resource that contains millions of digital objects from many different cultural heritage organizations. Searching can be a bit cumbersome and digital resources are not always described comprehensively.


Archives in Georgia

Heading to visit an archive either at Tarver or elsewhere?  Check out this handy guide on what you need to do to prepare for your visit.

Find an archive in Georgia — The Historical and Cultural Organizations Directory provides links and information for over 600 cultural and historical institutions statewide. This includes archives, libraries, museums, historical societies, and historic sites.

Georgia's Virtual Vault — This is your portal to some of Georgia's most important historical documents, from 1733 to the present. The Virtual Vault provides virtual access to historic Georgia manuscripts, photographs, maps, and government records housed in the state archives.

In and around Macon

Mercer University, Special Collections (Baptist and University Archives) — Mercer University maintains a library and archives of primary and secondary research materials related to the university and the Baptist community. The collection is located on the third floor of Mercer University's Tarver Library.

Georgia Archives — Located a short drive away in Morrow, the Georgia Archives identifies, selects, preserves, and makes accessible records that constitute Georgia's recorded history. 

Middle Georgia Archives, Washington Memorial Library — The Middle Georgia Archives is devoted to documenting the history of Middle Georgia and to serving as a resource center for archival and manuscript collections in Middle Georgia.

Special Collections, Georgia College and State University — Located in Milledgeville, GCSU's holdings include the Flannery O’Connor collection, Paul D. Coverdell collection, local and regional historical collections, Georgia College Archives, rare books and the Flannery O’Connor Room.


Atlanta, Athens, and Savannah

Georgia Historical Society — Located in Savannah, the GHS collects manuscripts relating chiefly to Georgia and Savannah, including diaries and other papers of families, plantation and business records, minutes and other records of organizations, and official and semi-official records of the colony and state of Georgia. Contains material from 1740 to the present.

Georgia State University Library — Located in Atlanta, GSU's collections include labor and the workplace in the Southeast; 20th century American popular music; Georgia women's political movements; interviews and associated papers relating to Georgia government, politics, and political movements; photographic images of Atlanta and its citizens; social change; rare books; and oral histories. 

University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries — Located in Athens, the numerous UGA collections cover 18th-20th century America, with emphasis on Georgia and the southeastern states. Included are records of organizations, unpublished memoirs and diaries, legal records, and audio-visual materials. Topics range from military and political history to education to theater.

Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL), Emory University — Located in Atlanta, the Emory collections hold over 200,000 printed volumes, over 1,200 manuscript collections, photographs, motion picture film, audio recordings, and other visual media. Subject areas of special strength include literature and poetry, African American history and culture, Southern history, and modern politics. 

Jimmy Carter Library and Museum — Located in Atlanta, the Carter Library and Museum is part of the Presidential Library system administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. This museum houses artifacts from Carter's presidential term as well as over 27 million pages of archived documents. 


Scholarly Resources / Articles

Dissertations and Theses Full Text (ProQuest) — Covers dissertations accepted at accredited U.S. institutions since 1861. Selectively covers Master's theses and Canadian, British, and other international dissertations. Most dissertations since 1997 (and some earlier dissertations) are available in full text.

JSTOR — Provides access to complete back files of core journals in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. The University Library subscribes to the Arts & Sciences I, II, and III and Health & General Sciences, which include a variety of history journals. 

Web of Science (Web of Knowledge/Thomson Reuters) — This multidisciplinary index covers the journal literature of the arts and humanities. It fully covers 1,144 of the world's leading arts and humanities journals, and it indexes individually selected, relevant items from over 6,800 major science and social science journals. Our coverage dates from 1991.

Digital Library of Georgia — Contains over 500,000 digital items related to the history and culture of Georgia. Items can be found browsed or search by topic, time period, county, institution, or media type. Please note some of the links will lead you away from the Digital Library of Georgia site.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Online (Britannica) — Contains more than 73,000 articles from the printed Encyclopædia Britannica, including more than 8,000 articles that are not found in the print set. The resource also includes year-in-review articles from recent yearbooks, The Britannica Student Encyclopedia, and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus. The database also includes an extensive World Atlas linking users to maps, flags, statistics, and more of over 215 countries. The Britannica Internet Guide includes links to over 200,000 related Web sites, selected for content by Britannica editors.

WorldCat (FirstSearch) — The world's most comprehensive bibliography with entries representing books and other resources spanning 4,000 years of knowledge from libraries around the world.


Finding Older Articles (some of these resources also contain primary resources)

America: History and Life (EBSCO) — A comprehensive bibliography of articles on the history and culture of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present. Offers abstracts and citations for articles in roughly 1,800 journals published worldwide in history, related humanities, and the social sciences. Includes citations to book and media reviews from approximately 140 major journals of American history and culture and relevant dissertations from Dissertation Abstracts International. Articles date from about 1863.

Historical Abstracts (EBSCO) — Provides citation information and abstracts for articles from over 2,600 journals, books, and dissertations (published since 1955). Covers all aspects of world history from the fifteenth century forward (excluding the United States and Canada). Publications are in over 40 languages; article titles and abstracts are included in English translation.

Poole's Index to Periodical Literature — (1802-1906) A subject index to 479 American and English general periodicals. See also Cumulative Author Index for Poole's Index to Periodical Literature, 1802-1906, which lists all personal names that appeared in the original index. (Located on the 1st floor; shelved alphabetically by title; Cumulative Author Index is shelved with the Poole's.)

Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature — (1900-1999) Contains citations for a broad range of periodical articles, arranged by subject. (Located on the 1st floor; shelved alphabetically by title.)


Historic Newspapers

New York Times (ProQuest) — Coverage: 1851-2011. Includes all the articles published since the first issue of the paper in 1851. Provides full text and full image articles with digital reproductions of every page, every article and every issue in PDF format. In addition to news stories, includes editorials, letters to the editor, obituaries, birth and marriage announcements, photos, and advertisements. You can browse issues by clicking Publications at the top of the screen.

American Antiquarian Society (AAS) Historical Periodicals Collection: Series 1 (1691-1820) — Presents more than 500 titles dating from 1691 through 1820. The collection represents almost two centuries of print culture, ranging from early works imported by colonists to later titles published on American soil on the eve of the Revolution and during the early republic.

American Antiquarian Society (AAS) Historical Periodicals Collection: Series 2 (1821 - 1837) — Presents more than 1,100 titles dating from 1821 through 1837 and documents the growth and expansion of the new nation during the Jacksonian era, from the aftermath of the Panic of 1819 through the Panic of 1837.

American Antiquarian Society (AAS) Historical Periodicals Collection: Series 3 (1838 - 1852) — Presents more than 1,700 titles that reveal a rapidly growing young nation where industrialization, the railroads, regional political differences, and life on the western frontier were daily realities.

American Antiquarian Society (AAS) Historical Periodicals Collection: Series 4 (1853 - 1865) —  Presents more than 1,400 titles dating from 1853 through 1865. While the Civil War is a focal point, the collection also offers a diverse record of the continuance of daily life for many Americans—both leading up to and during the war.

American Antiquarian Society (AAS) Historical Periodicals Collection: Series 5 (1866 - 1912) — Presents more than 2,000 titles dating from 1866 through 1912. The themes presented in this database reflect a nation that persevered through a most difficult set of circumstances: a bloody civil war that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, the incorporation of the recently freed African Americans into American life, and a population that rapidly expanded into the Western territories.

Macon Telegraph Archive — Provides online access to early issues of the Macon Telegraph in its various daily and weekly forms from 1826-1908. Consisting of over 50,000 newspaper pages, the archive provides historical images that are both full-text searchable and can be browsed by date. NOTE: you will need to download a free plugin to view these pages. In addition, the newspaper is available on microfilm (through 2006) on the first floor of Tarver.

Mercer Cluster — You can now search the first 50 years of The Mercer Cluster (1920-1970) online. The archive provides historical images that are both full-text searchable and can be browsed by date.

Georgia Historic Newspapers — The Georgia Historic Newspapers Archive is a project of the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG), a part of Georgia’s Virtual Library GALILEO and is based at the University of Georgia Libraries. Since 2007, the DLG has partnered with universities, archives, public libraries, historical societies, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions to digitize historical newspapers from around the state. The archive is free and open for public use and includes over one million Georgia newspaper pages between 1786 and 1986.

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers — Project run by the Library of Congress that contains scanned newspapers from all over the country from between 1789-1963.

Finding an Online Archive

There are many more archives in the world than there are digital archives. Digitizing materials takes a long time and certain materials are prioritized over others. That being said, digital archives also tend to be a part of traditional memory institutions -- universities, museums, archives, historical societies, etc. Below are a few guides and research materials that can help you find digital archives.

Reference and User Services Association: Finding Primary Sources on the Web — History guide for finding primary resources based on selected topics. The guide's main focus is on American and Canadian history.

ArchiveGrid — Thousands of libraries, museums, and archives have contributed millions collection descriptions to this online resource that brings together information about historic documents, personal and family papers, and more. It can also be used to find archives relevant to your selected topics and potential digital resources

American Historical Association Wiki — Established with the goal of being a clearinghouse of information about archival resources throughout the world. [Currently on hiatus]

Society of American Archivists: A Guide to Effective Research — Contains extensive information on doing archival research including a page on "Finding and Evaluating Archives," which provides more resources for locating relevant archives.

Open Education Database: 250+ Killer Digital Libraries and Archives — List and descriptions for many online digital archives. It has a thorough breakdown of some digital resources in each individual state.

Voice of the Shuttle: History — Online directory resource for history on selected topics. Mainly focuses on online digital projects.

Best History Websites — Focuses more on education, but has a directory of a number of high quality history websites based on specific topics.

The World Wide Web Virtual Library — Contains hundreds of links to history websites and online projects. While this resource has a very large scope, many of the links are broken and have not been maintained.

Searching with Google

Google is an amazing search tool, but often it can be more difficult to find obscure resources. That being said, it can definitely help in your search for Digital Archives. Below are some strategies that can help:

Topical searches — If you have a general area of interest for your topic, it will not be enough to search just for the subject term. Many librarians from around the world create online "LibGuides" for university classes that specialize in specific topics. Including "libguide" as a search term with your topics can help you discover a more curated list of academic resources. Including terms like "digital archive," "digital library," or "special collections" can also be helpful.

Search for memory institutions — Many times geographic proximity is a good indication of who has the records for a specific person or on a specific topic. With that in mind, you can search for universities, museums, historical societies, etc. around the specific area you are interested in or where the people might have lived. This is only a general rule of thumb and sometimes papers land in unexpected locations.

Search for names of individuals — If you are interested in doing research on someone famous or important to a historical event, many times their writings or papers will be donated to a specific institution. When searching for names include other terms like "papers," "collection," or even "project" to help find potential online versions of their works.