There’s plenty more out there besides the Making of America site that I described in an earlier post.
Here are a few more great resources for historical research that are accessible on the internet, but that do not show up in a routine Google search (or any other search engine, for that matter):
This site used to be as clutzy as MOA, but over the years, newspaperarchive.com has continually improved its offerings and service, to the point where these days it gets a clear-cut Wow!
What’s here? Nothing less than the newspaper heritage of the United States from 1759 onward, (with a smattering of other countries), in an easy-to-use, full text search collection that returns the original page images (and when they add a text-only feature as well, for quicker access, the site will be pretty near perfect!). These are mostly smaller-circulation papers, but what better resource for zeroing in on the feel of local life in some small town in the 1800’s?
This is a subscription service, but you can search free of charge, and see snippet results. They also have free archive access to special topics, from Abe Lincoln to the Winter Games (with AIDS, Pearl Harbor, JFK, and lots more in between)…these are a great way to explore what this resource has to offer.
bottomline — entire history of the US, with a little UK, Canada, Jamaica and a few others thrown in, free to search, easy to use, and reasonably-priced subscriptions if you want full copies. Pretty great site. Now, if only they didn’t do everything in PDF format.
Questia markets itself mostly to the college crowd, but it’s actually a very deep and pretty easy-to-use online library…think of it as a small college library with every book accessible over the internet. In fact, they market themselves as the world’s largest online library, though that probably should be taken with a grain or two of salt.
Still…it’s an impressive collection. It’s not all history, of course, but there’s certainly no shortage of historical texts. I’ve used Questia for researching US casualties in post-WWII occupied Germany, the history of chain stores in the US, and the role of the Hessians in the Revolutionary War, just to name a few. You can search Questia at no cost, and see a preview of results, but to get the full resource, you’ll have to subscribe….sorry!
bottomline — an academic’s dream resource, with a strong leaning towards the “liberal arts” as represented in 20th century publications, free to search and preview
I’ll mention this one just in passing. Gutenberg’s results do, actually, show up in plain ol’ Google-type searches, but don’t always make it to the top of the results page. A direct search of Project Gutenberg often produces better results. What’s there? Just the world’s great literature from ages past — more than 18,000 books — in etext format. Their advanced search feature is a convenient way to explore.
bottomline — Clunky, but one of the internet’s gems.
Interested in the history of a particular city/state/province/country? Search Google on [ place-name archives ] and see what pops up.
For instance, a search on [ australia archives ] takes you to (go on…guess) the National Archives of Australia, an especially well-done national site for historical resources.
Closer to home, I find myself using the Maryland State Archives quite a bit.
bottomline — The truth is out there. Buried.
I wish I could eagerly recommend the historical archives of the world’s great newspapers. The New York Times, Washington Post, the Scotsman, and a host of others are all available, but unless you have access through Proquest, they are pretty unfriendly resources. Still, the ability to see the actual newspaper headlines of history is something that gives me a geekish thrill.
bottomline — These are great, great, great historical resources. Too bad they’re hamstrung by copyright hang-ups, and seem almost deliberately user-unfriendly in a lawyeristic sort of way.