Use Reliable Web Sites to Find Primary Sources
The web sites below contain databases with digital images of primary sources.
For better results, take the time to explore the different
databases and learn about the search options that are available.
Calisphere is the University of California's free public gateway to a world of primary sources. More than 200,000 digitized items—including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts—reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history. Calisphere's content has been selected from the libraries and museums of the UC campuses, and from a variety of cultural heritage organizations across California.
The Online Archive of California (OAC) provides free public access to detailed descriptions of primary resource collections maintained by more than 200 contributing institutions including libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies, and museums throughout California and collections maintained by the 10 University of California (UC) campuses.
Of all documents and materials created in the course of business conducted by the United States Federal government, only 1%-3% are so important for legal or historical reasons that they are kept forever. Those valuable records are preserved in the National Archives and are available to you, whether you want to see if they contain clues about your family's history, need to prove a veteran's military service, or are researching an historical topic that interests you.
Imagine Santa Monica, home to the digital collections of the Santa Monica Public Library. The collections include the Santa Monica Image Archives, Pacific Palisades Historical Collection, Santa Monica Evening Outlook (1895-1925), Santa Monica Facts, Historical Maps of Santa Monica, and Santa Monica Newspaper Index.
Smithsonian Open Access where you can download, share, and reuse millions of the Smithsonian’s images—right now, without asking. With new platforms and tools, you have easier access to nearly 3 million 2D and 3D digital items from our collections—with many more to come. This includes images and data from across the Smithsonian’s 19 museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives, and the National Zoo.