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Digital primary source and archive collections

Search for primary sources by time period, country/region or theme

Not sure what digital archive to use to search for primary source material related to your topic or subject area? 

Don't worry, you can use this guide to identify primary source databases by time period, country/region or theme. 

The vast majority of databases listed are only available to current students and staff at the University.

  • If appears next to a database this means it is an open access resource (freely available to anyone).
  • If  appears next to a database this means off-campus access is only available to students and staff via Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Find primary sources by time period

Click on the relevant tab to find primary sources sorted by time period.

Some databases will be found on more than one tab.

Click here to access archival news sources.

Timepieces (Solar System) - Katie Paterson, 2014.
© The University of Edinburgh.


Anglo-Saxon Charter Granting Lands to the Monks of Winchester, 854 A.D. 

© The University of Edinburgh.

McBeath Gaelic Medical Manuscript, 16th century. 

© The University of Edinburgh.

Anatomy Museum in the University of Edinburgh Medical School, Teviot Place. 1898. 

© The University of Edinburgh.

Front cover of The Student, 2nd November, 1972. 

© The University of Edinburgh.

Bomb damage to buildings near the Infirmary, Edinburgh, 2-3 April 1916. 

© The University of Edinburgh.

Here are some more freely available resources related to the First World War.

C.H. Waddington (1905-1975) in Army Uniform, 1942.

© The University of Edinburgh.

The Basic Material is Not the Word but the Letter - Nathan Coley, 2018.

© University of Edinburgh Art Collections                       

Find primary sources by country or region

Click on the relevant tab to find primary sources sorted by country or region.

Some databases will be found on more than one tab.

Click here to access archival news sources.

Gerardi Mercatoris Atlas, 1613.
© The University of Edinburgh

Insulae Albion et Hibernia cum minoribus adjacentibus, 1664.

© 2002 School of Scottish Studies, The University of Edinburgh               

Modern Geography by John Pinkerton, 1802.

© The University of Edinburgh

Gerardi Mercatoris Atlas, 1613.

© The University of Edinburgh