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HIS 014 - Library Research: Using the web

Library research guide for HIS 014 students

Searching for Primary Sources using the Web

Using the Web for finding primary sources. The free web is one of the richest sources of primary source material but it requires the user to carefully evaluate what they find.

Review this recommended Web Guide before you start your search: Using Primary Sources on the Web. An excellent web guide by the American Library Association includes search strategies, recommended resources, and evaluation tips


Try a search on your topic. Type in your topic include the words “primary source”

Example: “roman religion” “primary sources”

Also try limiting your results to .edu, .org, OR .gov web sites. For example:

"roman religion" "primary sources" site:edu

Some example web sites for primary sources:

Ancient History through the Middle Ages

Internet Ancient History Sourcebook
Sources are arranged according to region or theme, eg. Egypt, or Human Origins. Scroll down the column on the left to see if your topic is covered. Try a Ctrl-F and enter a key term to see if it is mentioned on the site.

Ancient Greek and Roman texts
The Theoi Classical E-Texts Library is a collection of works from ancient Greek and Roman literature in translation. Good for Sparta, Athens, Olympics. There is a search box at the top.

EyeWitness To The Ancient World
This website has primary sources along with some explanatory notes. Primary sources appear in RED. Be sure to scroll to the bottom to look at the citation for the primary source. There is a search box at the top right where you can search keywords for your topic.

Internet Classics Archive
441 works of classical literature by 59 different authors, including user-driven commentary and "reader's choice" Web sites. Mainly Greco-Roman works (some Chinese and Persian), all in English translation.

Euro Docs - History of Prehistoric and Ancient Europe
A search in the box on the left for your keywords will give a list of pages where that term appears. Click on one of the links, and then do a ctrl-F and enter your keyword again to get to the right entry on the page.

Avalon Project - Primary documents in law, history and diplomacy
Enter keywords in the search box at the top right. Documents are arranged by time period.

Perseus Digital Library
This site contains primary and secondary sources organized by theme/time period). Search at the top right by keywords. When you see a blue triangle, click on it to open list of sources.

Subject Specific

Online Bibliography of Ottoman-Turkish Literature

Arabic and Middle Eastern Electronic Library (Yale)

Middle East Virtual Library

Encyclopedia Iranica

Oriental Institute (University of Chicago) Catalog of Publications - publications available for free download

AWOL - Ancient World Online - "The primary focus of the project is notice and comment on open access material relating to the ancient world"