Web of Knowledge Web of Science Public Web Some libraries and other organizations have digitized their paper archives, including periodicals, and made them available for free on the public Web. USMillv07 Microfilm and microfiche Many periodicals, especially ones that were printed on paper that disintegrates quickly because it is acidic, were photographed and stored on microfilm or microfiche. Microfilm and microfiche are often kept in drawers labeled with call numbers.
But some of the most magical historical documents have never been printed at all. They exist as letters or diaries or other unique items that are held in collections called archives. Historians call these unique unprinted documents manuscripts.
Learning how to find them is among the most challenging and intriguing of historical skills, since by their very nature they come in all shapes and sizes, and can be organized in many ways. The same is true if you want to explore the past. Because newspapers and magazines often seek to provide readers with summaries of the latest news and fashions, and what people are thinking about such matters, they can be immensely helpful in helping you understand what life was like at a particular moment in the past.
Look at all the pages—the headlines, the editorials, the sports pages, the business news, the advertisements—and ask how much the world had changed in the years between those two documents. But precisely because periodicals like these are such an astonishingly rich source, it can be really confusing trying to find information in them.
Here too there are lots of helpful techniques for using these kinds of documents—techniques that will prove deeply rewarding if you apply them to your own research.
We offer an overview of the endless fascinations of periodical sources here. Because governments by their nature do a better job than most organizations of keeping track of what they do—whether writing laws or prosecuting criminals or collecting taxes or fighting wars or regulating economies or managing natural resources—they are prolific producers of documents.
Government document collections are among the largest and richest in the world. No matter what the topic that interests you, there will be numerous government documents that relate to it. The problem is finding those documents. Each government has its own unique way of organizing its records, and archivists spend entire lifetimes learning to navigate these records.
Most of us have no idea just how rich a government document collection or a law library can be in helping us understand things in the world we care about. For some suggestions about how to do so, click here Photographic Images Earthrise, Apollo 8 Some documents are so obscure or complicated that we hardly know what to do with them when we first encounter them.
Not photographs or other images. Viewing historical photographs is just plain fun. Like all documents, photographs require critical reading to be properly interpreted and understood We introduce you to this wonderful genre of documents here.
Maps Centennial Map of University of Wisconsin Campus, If you know how to read them, historical maps are like photographs in being among the most engaging and powerful of historical documents. Because they are designed to depict places in simplified or thematic ways, they are especially powerful tools for doing environmental history.
Like many of the documents we discuss on this website, maps are often collected in specialized libraries with their own peculiar search tools. Such collections tend to be organized by place—and place turns out to be a more complicated idea than you might imagine when you start thinking about it in maps.
But the UW is in a city called Madison, a county called Dane, a state called Wisconsin, a region or multiple regions called the Mississippi Valley or the Great Lakes or what have you, a nation called the United States, a continent called North America, a hemisphere called Western, a planet called Earth Maps of all these nested places are relevant to the university campus depicted at right.
The wonders of maps are endless. Learn more about them here. Research about the past based on interviews with living human beings is called "oral history.
Listening to someone share their memories about a topic you care about can be powerful indeed. To learn more about doing oral history, click here. How did the diet of working Americans change in the nineteenth century?Research underpins the entire Colonial Williamsburg experience.
Discover our latest projects, learn about various areas of research, explore our online resources, or use materials from the Library.
Research Genealogy and Family History in 26 Countries & All 50 U.S. States! Browse by Location. Explore 10,+ Current & Historical Newspaper Titles and Counting! Search America's historic newspaper pages from or use the U.S.
Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between present. The two, freely accessible resources below were designed specifically for digitized newspapers, offering improved search, browse, display, downloading and printing.
Whether you're conducting research online or using the History Center's renowned Gale Family Library, these essential tools, materials and services will provide information and guidance. Records & Indexes | Research Help Records & Indexes Historical data and primary source materials.
Missouri Digital Newspaper Project. The State Historical Society of Missouri is pleased to present a growing collection of digitized historic newspapers.