Primary Source Literacy at USC Libraries & Beyond

Databases containing Digital Primary Sources

USC Libraries subscribes to a great number of databases which contain digitally available primary sources. You can find the complete list of databases USC provides you access to here

Use the Search box to enter a keyword relevant to your research to see a list of results for databases that contain materials on your topic. Or use the Subject Area filter to narrow down your list of results by subject area first.

As databases are provided to us by various vendors, they can look slightly different each time and the navigation can be slightly different as well so you might need some time getting used to the database relevant to your research but database providers overall do a pretty good job of making their navigation user friendly. Often you may also find information on the database site explaining how to navigate the collections.

Having access to this wealth of electronic primary sources is fantastic for conducting your research as you have collections from around the world available at your fingertips. Just make sure to apply the same care as you do with physical primary source materials: reflect critically about the materials in front of you and look out for bias, privilege, and archival silences, and cite them correctly.

To learn more about primary sources in general, visit the Primary Sources Research Guide. The guide also has a sub-section that focuses on selected large primary source databases which can be helpful to get you started with your research.

Header Image: Screenshot of Adam Matthew's database The Age of Exploration.

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