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Primary sources provide immediate, firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning an event or topic.
Examples of primary sources include letters and diaries; photographs, audio and motion picture recordings; transcribed speeches; books, newspapers and magazines published during the period under consideration; government documents and other publications; oral histories, autobiographies and memoirs; and even artifacts, like clothing, furniture, and other items of material culture from the period.
Broad-Ranging Primary Source Databases & Related Resources - World History
Bodleian History Faculty Library.
A rich list of online information resources and tools for historians maintained by the University of Oxford’s Bodleian History Faculty Library.
Cambridge Digital Library.
Digitized primary source material and research outputs from the University of Cambridge and its colleges.
Digital Bodleian is an ongoing project of the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries that offers digitized images of manuscripts and early printed books, ephemera, maps, prints and portraits.
Digital Public Library of America.
The Digital Public Library of America is a nonprofit organization that brings together on one platform digitized and born digital content from across the U.S. and the world, making it more readily accessible for public use.
You can find many primary source databases under the library research guides for:
How to Find Primary Sources via UCSB Library Search
To find primary sources via UC Library Search, search the Library Catalog and type in words that represent your general topic. Here we are searching for primary sources that have something to do with Renaissance women.
In the top line, type in your topical words: women AND Renaissance.
In the line below your topical words, type in Subject words that represent primary sources. Such words include:
speeches, addresses etc.
Try different combinations of topical and Subject words to make sure that you are finding all of the primary sources available to you in the UCSB Library.
Guides to Collections of Primary Sources - World History
Includes descriptions of historical documents in libraries, museums, and archives. Use ArchiveGrid to learn what institutions have archival materials on a particular topic, and how to arrange a visit to examine the materials.
From Fordham University, collections of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented for educational use.
Look for sourcebooks by region, as well as:
- Internet Ancient History Sourcebook.
- Internet Medieval History Sourcebook.
- Internet Modern History Sourcebook.
The Voice of the Shuttle (VoS) is a dynamic database of web resources on a wide range of topics (in this instance, history) woven by Alan Liu of the UCSB English Department with a team of department graduate students and others.
The World Digital Library is a project of the U.S. Library of Congress, carried out with the support of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), and in cooperation with libraries, archives, museums, educational institutions, and international organizations from around the world. The WDL makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from all countries and cultures.