Research Guides

Beyond Wikipedia: Background & Reference Sources

Large Digital Collections

Following are major sources of digitized content in multiple formats.  These huge open access sites are excellent places to find digitized photographs, maps, documents, manuscripts, music, books, newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, news footage, oral histories, sound recordings, museum objects, posters, artwork, government documents, and other items.  Also check the websites of libraries, museums, and historical societies for digitized materials.

Books, Newspapers, and Journals (Selected Sources)

Primary Source Databases @ the GC

The GC Library subscribes to more than three dozen databases that contain digitized primary sources.  These databases cover virtually every subject area and include books, pamphlets, broadsides, printed ephemera, journals, historical newspapers, video, manuscripts, diaries, letters, images of artworks, dramatic productions, government documents, classical literature, legal documents, data, underground comics, and more.

Also see our Newspapers research guide for information on and links to digital editions of current and historical, domestic and international, mainstream and alternative newspapers and journals.


Find out Graduate Center Ebook Collections, Dissertations, and open access Ebooks in our Ebook Collections research guide.

Open Access Journals

DOAJ is an online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.

Finding Digital Collections

Many U.S. states, regions, university libraries, museums, and national libraries around the world have digital collections. One way to find them is with a Google search with the words "digital library" plus your keyword. E.g., digital library France.

Examples include Trove (from the National Library of Australia) and Europeana (Europe's digital collections).

Another way to find digital resources is to visit the websites of libraries whose collections are relevant to your subject area or to browse the website of the Digital Library Federation

There are always exciting new digital projects on the horizon, such as The Caselaw Access Project (formerly known as the "Free the Law" initiative) from Harvard University.  You can read more about it in a New York Times article.

Highlights from Around the Web