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“Brandeis

HIST 136A: Global Wars and Revolutions in the Eighteenth Century

Tips for Searching Digitized Primary Sources

If you are using a database with an Advanced Search form, try using the Advanced Search features to refine your search.


Since these databases cover many decades, it can be helpful to limit your search to a specific date range.


Think about what terms that might have been used to in articles about your topic during the time period. For example: the name of a specific person or organization or even a term that wouldn't be used today.


Some databases allow you to limit your search to articles from a specific geographic area. Try doing this when researching events from a specific region.


These databases often sort results in chronological order. In some cases, it might be helpful to sort by relevance/best matches first.


In addition to searching, try browsing these collections to learn about sources that you wouldn't have necessarily thought of searching for.

Recommended Digitized Collections

Primary Sources in the Library Catalog

This page includes suggestions for many digitized collections of primary source materials, but remember to consider sources that may not have been digitized. Try searching the Library Catalog. Search by an author from the time period or enter a subject in combination with any of the subject headings used to define primary sources:

Autobiographies
Correspondence
Diaries
Documents
Early works to…
Government documents
Interviews
Legal documents
Letters
Manuscripts
Memoirs
Narratives
Pamphlets
Photographs
Reminiscences
Sources
Speeches

To search primary source collections beyond Brandeis:

Boston Public Library

The Boston Public Library has a number of excellent databases withe primary source materials, including:

 You can sign up for a BPL ecard which will allow you to use these databases.