Historical Research in Europe - a guide to archives and libraries

map of Europe

Usage Statistics

To access or cite this collection: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/HistResEur

Scope and Content:

This project is intended to assist researchers who are planning to use European libraries and archives. The focus is on materials found in western European repositories from the Atlantic area eastward. Included are all kinds of archival and library resources available in western Europe; thus the scope of the project includes resources useful for researchers studying Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas, as well as for researchers studying Europe. Likewise, "historical" resources are broadly defined to include not only those relevant to the traditional study of history, but also artistic, scientific, and other subjects with a historical dimension.

The intention is to unite web-based and printed resources which provide information about European libraries and archives in a single interactive database. The collections of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which are exceptionally strong in guides to European archives and libraries, form the basis for the printed materials included here. Websites are gathered from a variety of sources. The database is updated and new resources added on a monthly basis. Hyperlinks are verified and updated every month.

Current Focus: The database currently has over 5500 records. With the majority of Western European and Scandinavian countries covered to date, the project focus is now on library and archival resources for the countries of Eastern Europe added to the European Union in 2004.

Search Tips:

Since this database uses terms from several different European languages we highly recommend starting your search by looking up possible established subject headings for your topic. In doing so, you will confirm spelling and punctuation conventions and used in this database. The established subject terminology is located at this link, and is also available in PDF format.

Geographic spellings come from the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic names.

Time periods are searchable as well. Chronological subject headings include: Middle Ages, Sixteenth Century, Seventeenth Century, Eighteenth Century, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century, and Twenty-first Century.

Accents are recognized by this database. Please see this list of iso8859-1 characters.

Truncation is possible by using the ? at the end of a word. This will help expand your search. For example, Vich? will find Vich and Vichy.

Capitalization is not necessary. England and england will call up the same records.

Keyword search:

Use the Keyword Search function when searching across all fields: Title, Author, Publisher, Subject terms, and Notes.

For example, if you wish to find an architecture archives in the United Kingdom, type the words architecture and "United Kingdom" into the Keyword Search box.

Keyword Search

If you wish to find an archive that is in the United Kingdom but not England type in exactly as shown below:

Architecture and "United Kingdom" not England

Guided Search with Multiple Fields:

Use the Guided Search to combine different fields using Boolean operators (and, or, not). The Guided Search can help you refine your search. If you wish to find an archive that houses materials about Madagascar, type in "Madagascar" (without quotes) and then choose the subject field from the drop-down menu. You can combine up to three search phrases/terms and three different fields in the guided search by using Boolean operators: and, or, not.

If you wish to find an archive in Ireland that holds materials relating to twentieth century women's studies, type the terms Ireland, Women's Studies, and Twentieth Century into the Guided Search boxes.

Guided Search

If you wish to find an archive about architecture in the United Kingdom, excluding England, type architecture and United Kingdom into the first two boxes, choose not from the second drop-down menu, and enter England into the bottom search box.

Guided Search

Subject Category Search:

The Subject Search function is located on the Subject Search page. Subject searches are broadly defined 'canned' searches of pre-coordinated subject headings. These predefined searches bring together the most popular searches for this database for the convenience of the researcher.

For example, the "Architecture and Design" subject category search combines the subject headings: "architecture and design and buildings." The search string for each canned search can also be seen at the top of the page if the researcher wishes to alter the search in some way in the Guided Search function.

Subject Headings Browse:

Use the Subject Heading function to browse an alphabetical list of the subject headings. The number of records associated with each subject heading is indicated as a link next to the terminology.

Access to the printed collections:

Call numbers are provided for all printed resources in the database which come from the UW-Madison Libraries collection. Location and circulation status can be checked on MadCat. Materials circulate and can be borrowed via interlibrary loan, except when indicated otherwise.

Access to web resources:

Hyperlinks are provided in the resource record for all Internet resources; click on the link to access the web site. At the time of inclusion, all Internet resources are non-fee (free) sites.


This is a joint project of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center for European Studies and the General Library System. Funding support was provided by the UW-Madison General Library System and by a U.S. Department of Education National Resources Center Grant (Title VI). Project Director is: Barbara Walden, European History Librarian, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Indexers: Ben Trapskin, Joe Tomich, Kate Rubin, and Ron Wiecki. Technical Support is provided by the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center.

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Libraries: UW-Madison

Center for European Studies