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Information Services


Welcome to the History subject guide - your guide to using the library resources, services and facilities for your subject.

Library Services Update

This Library Services page will be kept up to date with information about access to the library collections, online access to teaching resources and how to get further help.

Search Library Resources


Use DiscoverEd to search the Library's collections and find books, ebooks, ejournal articles and more. Use your University Login to sign into your account and manage loans, requests and fines. 

Search for literature on historical topics

Digital primary source databases

Through the Library you have access to millions of digitised primary source documents that you can search and browse through hundreds of online databases.

Between them these databases cover the Medieval period onwards and include material such as books and manuscripts, personal and official correspondence, diaries, legal documents, newspapers, magazines, audio and video recordings, images, maps, ephemera and much more.

To discover the full range of digital primary source databases you have access to you should take a look at the Digital primary source and archive collections guide and the Newspapers magazines and other news sources guide

The resources on these tabs will allow you to cross-search multiple digital primary source databases (from the same publisher) at one time. If you've never used digital primary source databases before this can be a good way to start.

Gale are a major publisher in primary source databases and the Library has access to a range of material from them including Archives Unbound, Archives of Sexuality & GenderEighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO), two of the Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO) databases, The Making of Modern Law and a wide range of newspaper archives including British Library Newspapers, The Times Digital Archive and The Daily Mail Digital Archive

Gale Primary Sources allows you to cross-search across all, or a selection of, the Gale primary source databases the Library has access to. 

Tick/untick the boxes of the resources you do or don't want to search.

Archives Unbound, published by Gale, provides the Library with access to over 300 primary source databases, all of which are listed individually above. 

However, you can cross-search all, or a selection of, the databases within Archives Unbound by accessing it directly. 

Adam Matthew Digital are a major publisher in primary source databases and the Library has access to a range of material from them covering the late Medieval period onwards. 

AM Explorer allows you to cross-search across all of the Adam Matthew Digital primary source databases the Library has access to. 

It's quite a basic search but will help you locate material or relevant databases to do more advanced searching in. 

ProQuest provide the University Library with access to over 300 databases (both for primary sources, newspaper archives and secondary sources). 

ProQuest has a few different platforms it provides access to these databases through and it allows you to cross-search across all, or a selection of, the databases on a particular platform. 

Click on "Databases" in the top menu to see full list of databases and then tick/untick the boxes of the resources you do or don't want to search.

ProQuest History Vault provides access to millions of primary source, cross-searchable, full-text/full-image documents on the most widely studied topics in 19th and 20th century American history. The content in History Vault is suitable for researchers in history, African American studies, women’s studies, political science, social sciences, sociology, and international studies.

Main Library

The Main Library holds the majority of books for History. Most of these books are on the 2nd floor or in the HUB Collection on the ground floor.

Resource Lists

Find your course reading lists via Resource Lists. Type in your course code or keywords from the course title, or your lecturer's name.

Please note that not all courses at the University use Resource Lists. 

Exam Papers

Exam Papers Online provides access to the collected degree examination papers of the University from 2004 onwards. They may be used by students as a study aid only.

Your Academic Support Librarian

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Caroline Stirling
Argyle House (Floor F East)
3 Lady Lawson Street
Edinburgh EH3 9DR
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Online learning

The Library provides access to 100s of 1000s of online resources, including e-books, e-journals and online databases, but we also provide lots of other services and support for students on online learning programmes.

Keep up to date

Follow HCA Librarian blog or on Twitter to keep up to date with Library news related to History, Classics and Archaeology.

Follow the Library on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or blog to keep up to date with Library news, services, resources and support for the entire University.