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.
1. Search using the language and terms used during the event 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.
These digital archives cover all aspects of U.S. history and are a great place to start your search. Due to the high number of items in these archives, you may need to limit your results by date or format.
K-State Libraries supports our students, faculty, and staff by purchasing or subscribing to resources like these databases with primary source and archival collections.
This is a sample of databases that are most relevant to your final project. See a complete list of primary source databases to which K-State Libraries subscribes.
Publicly available digital archives are free for the end-user to access, so long as you have a device and the Internet. This means that the cost of creating and maintaining the archive is born by the organization that hosts it. They may use grants, taxes, donors, and/or volunteers to fund the archive.
You can discover many digital archives in the collections listed on this page. The Digital Public Library of America (link above) is especially useful for discovering collections because museums, libraries, and archives from across the United States submit their materials. When you find a particularly useful item, look to see where it is from and follow the links to explore more.
Other search tips:
Know the names of related agencies, laws, states/cities, or administrators can help located digital archives or primary sources. Your class notes, secondary sources and, yes, Wikipedia, can help you identify these names. Become familiar with important dates, too. This can help you when you are trying to decide which House bill (HB) is the one you need to focus on.
These collections focus on preserving and sharing records of social movements and protests. Their materials may include film, audio, pamphlets, newsletters, handwritten notes, and more.
These collections focus on specific legislation, policies, and regulations that impact people of color.
Due to copyright, I can't link you to a lot of databases with free access to films and television shows. We do have some streaming video databases that might have relevant movies for your project. Due to the way our subscriptions work, you can only view the videos we have purchased access to.
These sites provide data and context for popular culture.