Digital archives and primary sources for your dissertation

Not sure where to access digital archives and primary sources? Suddenly having to change the focus of your disseration and unsure what online resources may be available to you instead of physical archives? In this blog post I have pulled together some (hopefully) useful information and links for you to explore. Read through the whole thing or click on link below to read a particular section.

What digital archives and primary sources are already available to you?
Open access digital archives and primary sources
Trial access to digital primary source databases
Temporary access to resources in light of Covid-19 outbreak

What digital archives and primary sources are already available to you?

At the University Library we have access to, something like, over 400 digital primary source databases. Between them these databases cover 100s of years of history and contain a wide range of different document types e.g. newspapers, periodicals, official and legal documents, correspondence, diaries, books, pamphlets, sermons, audio and video recordings, images, objects, ephemera and much more. Continue reading

On trial: South Asia Archive

Thanks to a request from a HCA staff member the Library has been given extended trial access to South Asia Archive from Taylor & Francis, providing online access to documents ranging from the mid-18th to the mid-20th Century.

You can access South Asia Archive from the E-resources trials page.
Access is available on and off-campus.

Trial access ends 1st June 2020. Continue reading

British Online Archives – full access until 30th June 2020

*Access has been extended until 30th June 2020*

I’m happy to let you know that British Online Archives (BOA) are providing 30 days free access (starting from 23rd March) to its entire collection of digital primary sources in light of the Covid-19 outbreak.

BOA provide students and researchers with access to unique collections of primary source documents. Their website hosts over 3 million records drawn from both private and public archives. These records are organised thematically, covering 1,000 years of world history, from politics and warfare to slavery and medicine. Continue reading

JSTOR – expanded set of content freely available now

*JSTOR have extended their expanded access to e-journals and digital primary source databases until 31st December 2020 and their expanded access to e-books until 31st August 2020.*

I’m delighted to let you know that JSTOR, and their participating publishers, are making an expanded set of content freely available to participating institutions where students have been displaced due to COVID-19.

What this means at the University of Edinburgh is that we are getting access to journals and primary source collections that we do not already have a licence for and a collection of ebooks freely available through June 30, 2020.

To see the journals and primary source collections included see JSTOR’s Expanded access to journals and primary sources page. To see the participating publishers for the e-books (not all of their partner publishers are participating) see JSTOR’s Expanded access to ebooks page.

While at the University we already have access to 2 of JSTOR’s primary source collections, 19th Century British Pamphlets and Struggles for Freedom: Southern Africa, this expanded offer from JSTOR gives us access for a limited period to World Heritage Sites: Africa and Global Plants. Continue reading

On trial: Telegraph and Financial Times Archives

Thanks to a request from a HCA student the Library currently has trial access to two extensive newspaper databases from Gale, The Telegraph Historical Archive, 1855-2016 and Financial Times Historical Archive 1888-2016.

You can access these databases from the E-resources trials page.
Access is available on and off-campus.

*Trial access has now been extended until 30th June 2020.*
Continue reading

On trial: Paris Peace Conference and Beyond, 1919-1939

Thanks to a request from HCA staff the Library currently has trial access to Paris Peace Conference and Beyond, 1919-1939 from British Online Archives (BOA). The Paris Peace Conference was a meeting of Allied diplomats that took place in the aftermath of the First World War. Its purpose was to impose peace terms on the vanquished Central Powers and establish a new international order. This fascinating digital primary source database gives you access to official and personal papers relating to this conference and the treaties that came from it.

You can access this database from the E-resources trials page.
Access is available on and off-campus.

Trial access ends 17th March 2020.

The First World War gave rise to a complex system of alliances and antagonisms. The various treaties imposed by the Allied powers in its aftermath settled conflicts with Germany, Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire (later Turkey), Austria, and Hungary. Paris Peace Conference and Beyond contains documents that cover the treaties of Versailles, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Trianon, Sèvres, Lausanne, and Locarno, as well as the foundation of the League of Nations. Continue reading

Spotlight on: Archives of Sexuality and Gender

It’s LGBT+ History Month in the UK and there are a number of events being run around the University by the Staff Pride Network and the Students’ Association. However, if you’re interested in delving into the archives to find out more about LGBT+ history in the UK then the Archives of Sexuality and Gender may be just the place to start.

Archives of Sexuality and Gender spans the 16th to the 20th century and is the largest digital collection of primary source materials relating to the history and study of sex, sexuality and gender. Documentation covering social, political, health and legal issues impacting LGBT+ communities around the world is included, as well as rare and unique books on sex and sexuality from the sciences to the humanities.

This extensive resource is made up of 3 databases, LGBTQ History and Culture Since 1940 Part I, LGBTQ History and Culture Since 1940 Part II and Sex and Sexuality, Sixteenth to Twentieth Century, which between them cover 54 collections that are international in their scope and coverage. But I want to highlight those collections that specifically look at LGBT+ history in the United Kingdom.

Gay Activism in Britain from 1958: The Hall-Carpenter Archives

Spanning the period from 1958 to 1990, this collection chronicles the activities of the Albany Trust, an organisation that was initially focused on decriminalising homosexuality and increasing social acceptance of gay people. The Albany Trust centered its work on counseling services, research, and public education, helping to steer society and the law away from older, traditional ideas regarding homosexuality. Continue reading

On trial: World War 1 and the Spanish Civil War

I’m pleased to let you know that thanks to a request from an HCA student the Library currently has trial access to World War 1 and the Spanish Civil War: as reported by an Ambassador, 1863-1939 from British Online Archives. This fascinating digital archive contains over 37,000 pages from Esmé Howard’s personal and professional papers. Howard (1863-1939) is widely regarded as one of the most influential British diplomats of the early-20th century.

You can access this database from the E-resources trials page.
Access is available on and off-campus.

Trial access ends 22nd February 2020.

Howard held a number of important posts before serving as British Ambassador to the United States between 1924 and 1930. This collection contains Howard’s papers, from private correspondence to professional records. These documents provide an interesting insight into the evolution of British foreign policy during and between the two world wars. Continue reading

On trial – World’s Fairs: A Global History of Expositions

Thanks to a request from a student in HCA the Library currently has trial access to World’s Fairs: A Global History of Expositions from Adam Matthew. Through this unique resource you can explore the phenomenon of world’s fairs from the Crystal Palace in 1851 and the proliferation of North American exhibitions, to fairs around the world and twenty-first century expos.

You can access  from the E-resources trials page.
Access is available on and off-campus.

Trial access ends 14th February 2020.

World’s Fairs brings together for the first time official records, monographs, personal accounts and ephemera, including publicity, artwork and artifacts, for more than 200 fairs this collection offers a fascinating insight into international expositions. Continue reading

New to the Library – Struggles for Freedom: Southern Africa (Aluka)

I’m happy to let you know that following a request from a member of HCA staff the Library  now has a subscription to the digital primary resource Struggles for Freedom: Southern Africa (Aluka) from JSTOR. This extensive and fascinating resource contains 20,000 objects and 190,000 pages of documents and images documenting the liberation struggles in Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

You can access Struggles for Freedom: Southern Africa (Aluka) via the Databases A-Z list and the Digital primary source and archive collections guide. You can also access it via DiscoverEd. Continue reading