There are numerous online resources available to locate primary sources throughout the world.The most important gateways to this information are listed below. Records may be duplicated from one database to the next. However, no one database covers all of the information available; for a thorough search you should consult more than one. It should be noted that there are many small archives collections, in such agencies as local historical societies, libraries, and private organizations that may not be in these databases listed below.
FINDING ARCHIVAL MATERIALS NATIONWIDE
Entries from thousands of libraries, museums, and archives make up nearly a million collection descriptions within the ArchiveGrid database. Each collection record contains a link to archives that possesses material so the researcher may arrange a visit or order copies.
Archive Finder contains records from over 5,500 repositories and more than 161,000 collections of primary source material throughout the United States. Each entry is linked to a repository entry that helps researchers gain information about the repository's holdings, contact information, hours, location, and the home page URL when available.
The National Archives and Records Administration serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, ensuring that the people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. We ensure continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. We support democracy, promote civic education, and facilitate historical understanding of our national experience.
This database contains nearly 1.5 million catalog records that describe archival and manuscript collections and individual manuscripts in public, college and university, and special libraries located throughout North America and around the world.
A list of links to a variety of sources both on a national and state level.
LOCAL ARCHIVAL MATERIALS
Organizations, associations and groups related to or of interest to the archival profession.
This directory lists national, regional, state, local and provincial archival associations in the United States and Canada.
A listing of archival organizations outside of the United States.
A listing of organizations whose members share similar professional interests and job responsibilities to those of archivists.
The SAA President or Council appoints members to serve as representatives to a number of important committees and bodies outside of the Society of American Archivists.
Not all archival resources are available on the Internet and not all archives may have web sites. Some of the other means of discovery are:
- Looking at the bibliography of books and articles about your topic. These may contain references to archival material used by the author.
- Contacting the libraries, historical societies, churches, and county and parish court houses in the communities potentially involved in the research subject.
- Contact the organizations the research subject was associated.
Sources that maybe of help are:
This web site contains links to state and local government web sites.
Many of these sites link to local public libraries.
This is a comprehensive listing of local public libraries.
This is a directory of historical museums in the United States, categorized by state and county.