Your assignments at university are an invitation to join a scholarly conversation by exploring topics in depth, weighing the evidence, and drawing your own conclusions. A good research topic is one that sparks your interest and allows you to ask new questions. This guide is intended to help you get started.
Pick a research topic
- Read your assignment instructions carefully
- Pick a topic that interests you and meets the criteria of the assignment
- Identify key concepts of your research topic
- Need extra help? Click on Choosing an essay topic
- Do some background reading on your topic using Wikipedia
- Using Wikipedia wisely (video)
Use dictionaries, encyclopedias and handbooks to find definitions, introductions and overviews of your topic
- Encyclopedia of European social history from 1350 to 2000
- Encyclopedia of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars: a political, social and military history
- Encyclopedia of women in the Middle Ages
- Encyclopedia of women in the Renaissance: Italy, France and England
- Europe since 1945: an encyclopedia
- Medieval Germany: an encyclopedia (electronic resource)
- Medieval Iberia: an encyclopedia
- Medieval Italy: an encyclopedia (electronic resource)
- Modern Germany: an encyclopedia of history, people, and culture, 1871-1990
- Routledge History of Childhood in the Western World
- Wiley-Blackwell Dictionary of Modern European History Since 1789
Key Databases for Journal Articles:
- Academic OneFile
- Année Philologique
- ARTFL Project
- Cambridge Journals Online
- Early English Books Online
- Eighteenth Century Collections Online
- Eighteenth Century Journals
- European views of the Americas, 1493-1750
- Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports
- Franz Steiner Verlag Journals
- German History in Documents and Images
- Google Scholar
By connecting via Carleton Library, you will be able to seamlessly connect to the fulltext of articles that are part of the library's collection.
- Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU)
- International Medieval Bibliography
- Iter: Gateway to the Middle Ages & Renaissance
- Medieval Travel Writing
- Past Masters
- Patrologia Latina
- Periodicals Archive Online
- Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, 1824-1900
Dissertations and Theses
Finding primary sources in the library collection
Use specific words to locate primary sources in the Library catalogue, such as: correspondence, sources, diaries, letters, personal naratives. KEYWORD search examples:
- [PERSON’S NAME] and s:correspondence
- [KEYWORD] and s:diaries
- [PERSON’S NAME] and s:letters
- [KEYWORD] and s:sources
Provides links to Western European historical documents (mainly primary) that are transcribed, reproduced in facsimile, or translated.
Provides links to free scholarly websites of digitized primary documents and online digital archives on European history. Browse by country, language, period, subject, or type of source.
This is a collection of translated media reports from around the world. Many are first-hand reports of events as they occurred providing an archive of transcripts of foreign broadcasts and news for the second half of the 20th century. 1974-1996
Medieval manuscripts from libraries around the world dating from the 13th to the 16th centuries including translations and maps.
All-types of documents: 1993 - present; Resolutions: 1946 - present
- Regesta Imperii (German and European History)
Freely accessible database covering all disciplines of medieval sciences for the European language sphere.
- United Nations Treaty Collection (1946- )
- History of Austria: Primary Documents (EuroDocs)
- History of Belgium: Primary Documents (EuroDocs)
Church and Religion
- Monastic Matrix: A scholarly resource for the study of women's religious communities from 400 to 1600 CE
Searchable database of classical French Writings
- Digital French-Language Newspaper Portal
- French World War I Posters (University of Illinois)
- French Revolution Digital Archive
- French Revolution Pamphlet Collection (Emory University)
- Gallica Digital Libraries (Bibliotheque Nationale de France)
- History of France: Primary Documents (EuroDocs)
- The Napoleonic Digital Library
- Napoleonic Satires (Brown University)
- The Siege and Commune of Paris, 1870-1871 (Northwestern University)
This site contains links to over 1200 digitized photographs and images recorded during the Siege and Commune of Paris cir.1871. In addition, the Library's Siege & Commune Collection contains 1500 caricatures, 68 newspapers in hard-copy and film, hundreds of books and pamphlets and about 1000 posters.
- Before the Holocaust: Concentration Camps in Nazi Germany, 1933-1939 (Arts and Humanities Research Council)
- The Berlin Airlift (Harry S. Truman Library and Museum)
- Clio online - Fachportal fur die Geschichtswissenschaften
Clio-online is a central Internet gateway for historical scholarship in teaching and research. Sponsored by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) from 2002 until 2007, the gateway enables efficient access to the diverse range of historical online resources.
- A Different October Revolution: Dismantling the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe (National Security Archive)
- Digital Collections from the Bavarian State Library
- German Historical Museum, Berlin
- German History in Documents and Images (GHDI)
A collection of primary source materials documenting Germany's political, social, and cultural history from 1500 to the present.
- German Propaganda Archive
- Germany Under Reconstruction (University of Wisconsin)
- Hannah Arendt Papers at the Library of Congress
- Monumenta Germaniae Historica
Digtized (browsable) version of a massive collection of sources for the study of German history from the end of the Roman Empire to 1500. In progress.
- The Munich Agreements
- Nazi and East Germany Propaganda Archive
- The Nuremberg Trials
- Protokolle des Reichstags (1867-1895)
107,695 pages of transcripts of parliamentary debates and various indexes.
- Experiencing History: Holocaust Sources in Context
- Holocaust Rescue and Relief: Digitized Records of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Italy and the Vatican
- History of Italy: Primary Documents (EuroDocs)
- History of Vatican City: Pimary Documents (EuroDocs)
- Papal Encyclicals Online
- Patrologia Latina
The Patrologia Latina Database contains 221 volumes. It cover the works of the Latin Fathers, from Tertullian in 200 A.D. to Pope Innocent III in 1216.
Collection of primary and some secondary sources dealing with all aspects of Western (including the Middle East) medieval history.
- Medieval History Subject Guide ~ Primary Sources (Carleton University)
Spain and Portugal (Iberia)
- Biblioteca Nacional de Catalunya
- Catalonian Manuscripts (UC Berkeley)
Now available through The Digital Scriptorium.
Links to archive by region, diaspora and country, as well as international archives containing Ibero-Americana.
Access to over a million digital objects from 121 repositories in Spain. A project of the Ministry of Culture. (Searchable database of documents, facsimiles, transcriptions, photos, sound recordings, etc.)
- Historical Text Archive: Spain
- History of Portugal: Primary Documents (EuroDocs)
- History of Spain: Primary Documents (EuroDocs)
- Notes from the Field: Postcards of the Spanish Civil War
- PARES: Portal de Archivos Españoles
A portal and database created by Spain's Ministerio de Cultura containing more than twenty million documents and digital images from the principal Spanish archives, including the Archive of the Indies and Archive of the Spanish Civil War.
1821-1911; Portuguese-language transcriptions.
- Shots of War: Photojournalism during the Spanish Civil War
- Spanish Civil War Posters (Imperial War Museum)
- Spanish Civil War Posters (Library of Congress)
- Spanish Periodicals and Newspapers: Women's Magazines Digital Collection (UCONN)
Of significant interest is the wide selection of women's magazines written by men to appeal to an elite female audience. The collection is full of things such as short historical stories, poems, good advice for both men and women about the proper behavior of ladies at any age, beautiful colored and engraved images with the latest news of Paris fashion, music sheets of polkas and other music specifically composed for the magazines, and patterns for needlework, to name only a few. These magazines are an amazing window to understand the social dimensions of women in 19th century Spain. Type in "SPANISH PERIODICALS" in the search box.
History of Switzerland: Primary Documents (EuroDocs)
- ANNO AustriaN Newspapers Online (Austria)
- Gallica (France)
- Historische kranten in beeld (The Netherlands)
The main Dutch newspapers from 1618 to 1995. A selection of national, regional, local, Dutch East Indies, Surinam and Antillean newspapers and additional titles from 1940-1945.
- Center for Research Libraries' (CRL) - Foreign Newspapers
Carleton University Library is a member of the CRL consortium. CRL has a collection of over 5,800 foreign (non-American) newspapers in its Foreign Newspapers database. For details about retrieval and use of these materials, consult Interlibrary Loans.
In the Library:
- British documents on foreign affairs -- reports and papers from the Foreign Office confidential print. Part II, From the First to the Second World War. Series I, The Paris Peace Conference of 1919
- The charter and judgment of the Nürnberg Tribunal history and analysis
- Collected diplomatic documents relating to the outbreak of the European war
- Documents diplomatiques français
- Documents on German foreign policy 1918-1945. Series C (1933-1937) The Third Reich: first phase
- I Documenti diplomatici italiani (1952-1965)
- Finland (1969-2010)
- Greece (1944-1945)
- OECD iLibrary
- Statistical yearbook of the Netherlands
On the Web:
Public Opinion Analysis sector of the European Commission.
- France - Official Government Website
- Germany - Official Government Website
- Luxembourg - Official Government Website
- The Netherlands - Official Government Website
- Portugal - Official Government Website
- Spain - Official Government Website
- League of Nations 1920-1946: organizations and accomplishments, a retrospective of the first organization for the establishment of world peace
- United Nations Homepage
- Yearbook of International Organizations
The French Revolution Digital Archive is a multi-year collaboration of the Stanford University Libraries and the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) to produce a digital version of the key research sources of the French Revolution. The archive is based around two main resources, the Archives parlementaires and a vast corpus of images first brought together in 1989 and known as the Images de la Revolution française.
- German history in documents and images
- Images from the history of medicine
- Napoleonic Satires (Brown University)
- Oxford University Library - Prints from the Curzon Collection: Images of Napoleon and British Fears of Invasion, 1789-1815
Films and Videos
Collection of streaming educational videos that cover a wide spectrum of disciplines. Contains both clips and full-length videos.
For video material at the Carleton Univeristy library, do a KEYWORD search in the library catalogue and limit "Material Type" to FILM/VIDEO. If you cannot find what you need search the following database:
If you wish to borrow a video listed in Watmedia please fill out our Interfilm Video Request form - do not submit requests directly to Watmedia.
Access to hundreds of thousands of film historical documents as preserved in European film archives and cinémathèques: photos, posters, programmes, periodicals, censorship documents, rare feature and documentary films, newsreels and other materials.
- Voices of the Shuttle: European History
- WESSWEB: Western European Studies Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries
WESSWEB is a collection of links to high-quality information resources for the study of Western Europe.
The Archive of European Integration (AEI) is an electronic repository and archive for research materials on the topic of European integration and unification. The AEI collects two types of materials: certain types of independently-produced research materials and official European Community/European Union documents.
- Europa: Council of the European Union
- European Governance Papers (ERPA)
- European Integration History Index
- European Integration Online Papers (EIoP)
- European Research Papers Archive
- European Union Internet Resources (UC, Berkeley)
- European Union Studies Association
- European Community Studies Association - Canada
- Bibliotheque Nationale de France
- France in America (Library of Congress, in partnership with the Bibliothèque nationale de France)
A bilingual digital library that explores the history of the French presence in North America from the first decades of the 16th century to the end of the 19th century.
A database of Francophone literature of the Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. Records of authors (biographies, bibliographies, photos, excerpts, etc.
- Napoleonic Satires (Brown University)
- The Paris Music Hall Collection (University of Georgia Libraries)
- Collezioni Digitali
- Decameron Web (Brown University)
- Digital Dante (Columbia University)
- Divina Commedia - Electronic text of Dante's Divine Comedy
- Italian Women Writers (University of Chicago)
- Machiavelli Online (University of Pennsylvania)
- World of Dante
- Europe Historical Maps (University of Texas at Austin)
- Mapping History (University of Oregon and the Universität Münster)
Maps of Paris dating from 1843.
Spain & Portugal
- Basque Database (University of Nevada)
The database provides access to information about Basque topics written or produced after 1994.
- Biblioteca Digital Hispanica (Biblioteca Nacional de Espana)
Collection contains over 4,000 color slides and black and white photographs of medieval Spain . The images span over 1,000 years of architectural history, from the seventh to the seventeenth century.
- Constitution of Spain
- Hispana: collecciones digitales de archivos, bibliotecas y museos españoles
- Historical Text Archive : Spain
- History of the Spanish Civil War
- Libro: The Library of Iberian Resources Online
Contains online versions of secondary works and some primary sources, some in the English language.