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Check Northwestern Libraries Research Guides for suggestions on digital collections related to different subject areas. Below are just a few examples of guides that have suggestions for digital and online primary source collections. As mentioned before, you can reach out to librarians for suggestions or for help tracking down materials at, and outside of Northwestern.
Use Secondary and Tertiary Sources
Just as you would do with trying to identify other sources, consult bibliographies in books, articles, dissertations, and other secondary sources.
Oxford Bibliographies: Sociology
Oxford Bibliographies in Sociology provides peer-reviewed annotated bibliographies on the diverse topics of Sociology. It is fully searchable, and browseable by topic.
Some entries in Oxford Bibliographies list primary sources that could lead you to digital collections.
Normally, you might travel to libraries or archives around the world to view archival collections in-house. The databases below can help search across different archival finding aids to help you identify collections. Once you know a collection exists and where it is located, you can check to see if any or all of it has been digitized.
Archive Finder brings together ArchivesUSA and the cumulative index to the National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the UK and Ireland (NIDS UK/Ireland), previously available on CD-ROM.
ArchivesUSA is a current directory of over 5,600 repositories and more than 175,000 collections of primary source material across the United States. NIDS UK/Ireland is a major reference work that reproduces on microfiche the finding aids to thousands of archive and manuscript collections in libraries and record offices, museums and private collections throughout the UK and Ireland. Used together in Archive Finder, researchers are able to read descriptions of a repository's holdings to determine whether a collection contains material useful to their work as well as find the information they need to contact the repository directly. – Publisher
ArchiveGrid is a collection of over three million archival material descriptions, including collections held by thousands of libraries, museums, historical societies. Access is provided to detailed archival collection descriptions and contact information for the institutions where the collections are kept. ArchiveGrid data is primarily focused on archival material descriptions for institutions in the United States but now also includes information about collections in Australia.
Searching Catalogs at Other Libraries
The world's most comprehensive catalog of library holdings, particularly (though not exclusively) from North American libraries, containing over 2,000,000,000 records from over 10,000 libraries.
Guide that lists library catalogs for Chicago, Illinois, the Big Ten, and selected catalogs from libraries in the U.S. and internationally.