An Annotated List of Good Websites for Historical Research


Finding Books:

The University of Illinois Library catalog is a good comprehensive source for finding out what books exist on a given topic so that you can request them via Interlibrary Loan.

Advice and Instructions on doing history:

Lawrence University History Department's Guide to Historical Research ( gives good brief explanations of historical research, plus annotated links to good websites for further information.

Websites that Provide Content, Particularly Primary Sources:

The Internet History Sourcebooks Project ( is an enormous online collection of historical sources, mostly texts.  It includes Ancient, Medieval, and Modern sourcebooks, plus some thematic ones.  Most of the texts are relatively short.  Most if not all are in English, either originally or translated.

Google Books is a free online collection of scanned copies out-of-copyright books, and full or partial copies of newer books whose copyright holders have given permission.  Many of these books are primary sources for nineteenth- and twentieth-century history.  Follow the link or go to and click the link for "More" to find a link to Google Books.

The Library of Congress, Washington, DC (, has online collections of all kinds of text and image sources.  The "American Memory" section is a good place to start.  It includes digitized runs of some nineteenth-century periodicals, as well as photos, maps, paintings, and other images.

Chronicling America (, run by the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington, DC, is the beginning of a major online archive of 20th century newspapers.  Right now it has newspapers from 1900 to 1910 from just a few states.  It is fully searchable.

The British Library ( has large online collections of images and other materials related to the history of Britain, its former colonies, and the rest of the world.  Some are on "British Library Web Pages" and some are on "Collect Britain." You can search both at once.  For the Collect Britain images, there's a link to a "Large Image" that you can both see and download.  The materials I have seen here are well identified and well contextualized.  The same search engine also leads to journal articles, but they are for sale, not freely available, so you should use our databases instead.

The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC (, has some useful online image collections.  The American History Museum and the National Portrait Gallery are the most likely places to start looking.  Please note that Smithsonian magazine and the various sections for schoolkids and teachers are not appropriate sources for papers except as sources of images.


Websites that Provide Links to other websites:

The Logan Library list of websites on history.  Please note that some of these sites (such as the History Channel and "Presidents of the United States") are intended for quick reference and are not suitable sources for research papers.  Others have useful collections of historical documents and other primary sources that are good sources for research papers.



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