Finding Sources

I know that you want to Google first, but there are better ways to find sources. A good starting point is to look at the notes and bibliographies in our assigned readings to find primary and secondary sources related to your topic. Talk to LMU’s fabulous librarians, who are always happy to point you in the right direction – and be sure to check out their LibGuide for History.

For primary sources, check out the library’s LibGuide for primary sources, which includes links to the primary source collections that the library holds, as well as to the Department of Archives and Special Collections – a great resource for LMU students, where you can do hands-on work with historical artifacts. Scroll down for lists of primary source collections related to German & Central European history, European & global history (further sub-divided by topic and country), and general history.

For secondary sources, use the library catalogue to find books. To find scholarly articles, I recommend the following databases: Academic Search Complete, JSTOR, Project Muse, and Historical Abstracts. You can find the full list of the library’s research databases here. You must log into your LMU library account to be able to use these databases off campus (they should work automatically while on campus and connected to the LMU network).

And if you have to Google, start with Google Scholar instead of the regular search page. Remember that you can also limit Google searches to more scholarly sources by using “and .edu” when you search.

German & Central European History

  • German Studies Collaboratory – A great place to start your research in German history, the GSC brings together a variety of resources for the study of German history, language, and culture. You’ll find both primary and secondary sources here, and you can browse the collections or search by category or tag.
  • German History in Documents and Images (German Historical Institute, Washington, DC) – A collection of primary sources, both documents in the original and translation and images, sub-divided by chronology. The GHDI is currently rolling out a new interface, and a couple of the volumes have already been published there. To cite the documents and images, use the following model: “Name of Source.” In Name of Volume, edited by X, volume Y, German History in Documents and Images, German Historical Institute, Washington, DC. URL, accessed date.
  • Black Central Europe – A digital history project that explores the history of the Black Diaspora in Central Europe.
  • Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek – A valuable German-language resource.
  • Digital Picture Archives of the Federal Archives – An excellent source for images from German history. Many of these photographs are also available through Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons licenses (perhaps easier to search too).
  • German History Maps (Helmut Walser Smith)
  • German History Intersections (German Historical Institute, Washington, DC) – A digital history project focused on primary sources related to the topics of migration, knowledge and education, and Germanness.
  • Leo Baeck Institute – collections related to the history of German-speaking Jews.
  • German Propaganda Archive (Calvin University) – Includes Nazi and East German propaganda, including a lot of posters.
  • New Fascism Syllabus – The NFS project collects writings on the history of fascist, populist, and authoritarian movements around the world, including the Nazis, as well as present-day versions. The NFS Research Database is a searchable database of materials related to the history of fascist, authoritarian, and right-wing populist movements and dictatorships in the 20th and 21st centuries. You can also find sources by clicking on the “syllabus” tab; the “interrogating the past” sub-tab features a syllabus of secondary literature about the history of a variety of right-wing authoritarian movements, while the “interrogating the present” sub-tab is a collection of recent articles about the resurgence of populism and authoritarianism in the world today. The blog is also a valuable collection of essays about history, historical debates (e.g., the “Catechism Debate”), and current events (e.g., the Russian invasion of Ukraine).
  • The Holocaust:
  • The Wende Museum – Online collections from an art museum and historical archive focused on the history of Eastern Europe under communism. The Wende Museum is located in nearby in Culver City, so you can also visit.
  • Socialism on Film – A collection of films from the communist world; you will need to log into the library to use this database.
  • Germany Divided and Reunited (Brigham Young University) – A collection of digitized documents related to the history of postwar Germany.
  • Making the History of 1989 (Roy Rozenzweig Center for History and New Media, George Mason University) – A digital history project about the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, featuring primary sources and case studies.
  • German Heritage in Letters (German Historical Institute, Washington, DC) – A crowdsourced digital project of letters sent from the German-speaking lands to immigrants in the United States.

European & Global History


For Other Resources: