Library Research Guide
These sites are digital archives of primary sources. Search by person, place, event, or object.
This is just a sampling of the primary source databases and websites that exist. See a complete list of primary source databases to which K-State Libraries subscribes.
1. Search using the language and terms used by the characters in the book you are studying. Primary source materials are historical and cultural and use words and phrases that might be particular to that time or cultural group. A database or website is more likely to find sources that match your search if your language matches the language used in the documents.
2. Because primary sources are records of particular times, places, and people, you may encounter language and images that are offensive. We do not condone the language and images, but do recognize that they are part of our history and provide insight into the lives of people and cultures.
Due to the high number of items in these archives, you may need to limit your results by date or format.
These digital archives focus on preserving the experiences of specific cultures and identities.
This is not a comprehensive list and I am always actively searching for collections. Collections created and/or maintained by members of the community are of particular interest.
You can discover materials related to many cultures and identities in the collections listed above. The Digital Public Library of America (link above) is especially useful for discovering collections because it searches collections from across the United States. When you find a particularly useful item, look to see where it is from and follow the links to explore more.
You may also try searching the internet for: "name of culture/identity" AND digital archive
Many archives are location based, so look for digital archives of the city or state where your book takes place or where a large population of the community you are learning about live.
Newspapers and magazines that are contemporaneous with a book's time period offer insight into the daily life and historical events the characters might encounter. The ads can be particularly helpful to learn how much something cost, what a product looked like, and what was popular.
These sites offer free access to historical magazines and newspapers that have been digitized.
These resources provide provide sources popular culture, including dance, film, television, music, and fashion.
These resources can help you locate and answer questions about objects from material culture like telephones, cars, and even toothbrushes.
Another good source of information about material culture are the ads that appear in newspapers and magazines.