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Online Primary Sources: Home

A guide to finding online primary sources available through the Brynmor Jones Library, Hull History Centre and other free portals.

Online primary sources


Some primary sources have been digitised and made available online. They include archives, newspapers, periodicals and ephemera.

This guide will help you find online primary sources which are available through the Brynmor Jones Library and Hull History Centre, as well as suggesting options for other free sources.

What are primary sources?

Primary sources are documents and records of any kind which were produced contemporaneously with an event. They may be letters, diaries, photographs, films, websites, or anything else which can be taken as an original source of information about a subject or event.

For the purposes of this guide, newspapers and pamphlets are also assumed to be primary sources, although depending on your research you might treat them as secondary sources.

How can I access primary sources online?

The University offers access to a number of digitised primary sources online through the University Library. All these resources are highlighted in this guide.

Hull History Centre offers access to further digitised primary sources through its partnership with Hull Libraries. All these resources are highlighted in this guide.

Many sources are available free of charge, through national institutions such as the British Library, or local institutions such as universities and record offices. A small selection of resources which our archives team believe are particularly useful are highlighted in this guide, but there are many others which may be helpful to you.

I can't find what I need online - what can I do?

If you're struggling to find relevant primary sources online you can contact the Hull University Archives team and we will try to help. Bear in mind, though, that the majority of primary sources are not digitised and so there may not be relevant records for you to consult online.