Online digital text hoards and other useful resources, version 9.1

This started out as a list of a few of the nicer sources of online information that I know about (and in most cases use in my daily work). It represents my biases and interests, but I am always happy to add more stuff, so if you know of one that I have missed, please email me at the address that you will be able to work out from the information below.

Since then, I have been gathering more suggestions from friends (see the acknowledgements at the end of the visible code). Most of the sites are free, and most of them have large amounts of digital resources, but I have since added a few meta-sites that merely point to sites, and this is probably about as far as I will need to go.

I have added a few fee-charging sites as well, and these appear near the end of the list.

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Period or dates
Explicit URL
?-?ACT Territory Records Office haven't used this yet, but a quick look at the Documenting a Democracy website that hangs off this page suggests that it is worth exploring. Much of the rest seems to be online indexes to undigitised material, alas!general, free
1824 to presentAUSTLII legal databases! Case law, legislation, journals, projects, even New Zealand law. And Norfolk Island law. But wait, there's more! All the ATO stuff as well! Old law, new law, medium age and well-worn law, it's all there. If only science stuff was organised like this!law, legal material, free
1750-1949Australian Dictionary of Biography book was published in 1949, and include some 1050 prominent Australians. The accounts are necessarily sanitised, so that John McArthur's experience with and death from the spirochaete Treponema pallidum is not acknowledged (as one example), but it is a start. See the next entry for a better solution.Australia, history, free
?-?Australian Dictionary of Biography online is much more up-to-date and much more interactive than the Project Gutenberg version (above). Hotlinks, many more entries: "over 10,000 articles on 11,237 persons (some articles are on more than one person)". Apparently this one goes up to those who died in 1980, and the next two decades are being worked on. A truly brilliant resource!Australia, history, free
NAAustralian maps the name, join the dots. Australian maps! When I was doing a workshop at the National Library, we had John Oxley's map of his 1817-ish travels, but if you search here on 'Oxley 1817', you can see it without travelling.general, free
?-?Australian pictures held by the NLA. I recommend the advanced search option. Note that you can choose to pull only those cases where online images are available for view, and varying copyright restrictions apply.general, free, National Library of Australia
1939-1945Australian World War Two Nominal Roll AustraliaA good place to start hunting down World War II servicemen. What did your daddy/grand-daddy do in the war?Australia, free
1803-1954Historic Australian Newspapers, 1803 to 1954 wide range of Australian newspapers as digital images and also as OCR, which logged-in users can make corrections to. A service of the NLA, and a brilliant one at that. It can contain surprises, like my father's engagement to be married—this clearly fell though, but I had never heard about it. No secret is safe, if it ever turned up in the daily papers.general, free, National Library of Australia
?-?National Archives of Australia a cursory glance, this didn't seem to hold very much, with no returns on 'Menzies' or 'Sturt'. I suspect that this is a user error, but life is too short to waste too much time on a user-ferocious system. If they don't make the essential and required user-behaviour explicit, I drop them!Australia, free
1996-nowNLA Archived websites is quite alarming in its depth. I searched in my surname and learned things I hadn't known about two of my children, good stuff about two of my cousins—and curious information about me! (I was listed as a crime writer in a newsletter, Hmmm.) general, free
?-?Northern Territory Archives Service haven't used this yet. and I don't think I'm likely to, as there is precious little online. Here's hoping for the future!general, free
NAPlace name search you want to know how many places in Australia have 'Misery' in their names? It's a lot of fun, and this site tells you. Other cheery place-names: anxious, avoid, barren, bleak, broken, catastrophe, dead, deception, depression, desolation, despair, destruction, devil, disappointment, disaster, dismal, doubtful, fire, grim, hazard, hopeless, massacre, murdering, poison, poverty, savage, shipwreck, starvation, torment, treachery, tribulation, useless, warning, weary. Then there are the stories behind the names to dig out.general, free
?-?Project Gutenberg Australia broad collection of copyright-free materials, many (but not all) of them Australian. This is particularly useful for people seeking primary source material.Australia, history, general, free
?-?Public Records Office of Victoria haven't used this yet, but it will be worth a look. Check out the journal Provenance and if you had family who come to Victoria in gold rush times, take a look at the immigration records.general, free
?-?Queensland State Archives have only had a quick look, and the search engine leaves me a bit underwhelmed. There is no way of limiting the dates searched for, nor is there any way of sorting the results.general, free
1836 to presentSA Memory site is from the South Australian State Library, and offers a remarkable selection of material, provided you know what to look for. Try exploring the themes, or search on 'Henry Bryan' or 'Herschel Babbage' or 'Harry the Camel', and you find yourself in a wealth of detail.general, free
?-?SETIS Australian Studies texts far as I know, all of the volumes here are available as downloadable PDF files, but don't hold me to account if they aren't. Some of the works are also available from the University's Print On Demand service, and the First Fleet and Early Settlement Collection is good. Some links were not working.general, free
?-?State Library of NSW about the online collections first research stop. I hold a reader's card, so I can access some databases from home, using my card number. This is another of those frustrating sites where you need to drill down, and sometimes, you can't find where that good thing was, because there are so many of them. Make lots of bookmarks!general, free
?-?State Library of NSW databases is the one I can never find when I need it. Even from here, you need your wits about you: most of the time, I just need The Times which I access by a bookmark and cached reader number. See the next entry for home access items. general, free
?-?State Library of NSW home access are the databases you can access from the comfort of your home, but only with a State Library of NSW reader's card number. The range is huge, but to get a card, you need to be a NSW resident.general, free with log-in
?-?State Records Authority of NSW are largely online indexes to material stored in non-digital form, so far as I can see. Some of the links go away from their site and take you to sites that charge for services.general, free
?-?State Records of SA are no digital images online at this site, but I will leave this record there in case they improve later. The search engine is fairly abysmal, too. See SA Memory for a better source.general, free
?-?State Records Office of WA have not gone far here, as they seem to have a Digital Records initiative, but no digital records. Sigh . . .general, free
?-?Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office haven't used this yet. The first time I tried, the lights were on, but nobody was home. It seems to have improved a great deal.general, free
recentThe Sydney Morning Herald a journal of record, it's better than most.general, free
?-?Trove is the best portal to the National Library of Australia. Use it to access information about a lot of stuff: I'm going to split this one in any case, but try the books search and look for the tabs for states when you turn up the record for a book: this takes you to a listing of the libraries in that state that hold the book.general, free
1836 to 1997Victorian Government Gazette Government Gazettes provide a useful record of appointments, works, court cases and more. Well worth a poke around!general, free
1788-1899Macquarie University:Decisions of the Superior Courts of New South Wales, 1788-1899, New South WalesCourt cases that have in many cases disappeared into the mist are here brought forward again. I came to it while hunting down Lewin v Thompson, 1799. Thanks, Kay Williams!Legal, free
?-?Free e-books, worldFree e-books in all sorts of formatsgeneral, free
19th centuryDickens' Journals online Household Words and two related works, the Household Words Narrative and the Household Words Alamanc, along the All the Year Round. The project offers page images, and corrected text, page-by-page. Still under way when reviewed in 2011, it is to be launched in March 2012 as part of the Dickens Bicentenary. Brilliant!general, free
1668? to 2010London Gazette British (when you use the links)Government notices, army notices, probate. Has a link to Belfast Gazette and Edinburgh Gazette. This is an amazing resource, likely to side-track the researcher for hours. Beware!England, Britain, free
1846 to presentCalifornia Digital Newspaper Collection need to register and log in, but then, like Australia's Trove collection, you can assist by improving the OCR to help other searchers. Brilliant browse function as well.California
ModernEuropean Economic data Nations Economoc Commission for Europe (UNECE) data.Europe, economic, free
copyright-freeBiolib: a collection of historic and modern biology books huge collection of scanned images, and 493 books, if my vestigial German is not letting me down.general, free
1946-1947Nuremberg Trials Project 'The Medical Case (U.S.A. v. Karl Brandt et al., also known as the Doctors' Trial) was held in 1946-1947 and involved 23 defendants accused of organizing and participating in war crimes and crimes against humanity in the form of harmful or fatal medical experiments and other medical procedures inflicted on both civilians and prisoners of war.' Harvard holds more than a million pages of transcripts: this presentation of one trial is a pilot study.war crimes, law, free
1763 onwardsIrish Newspaper Archives is a portal with a number of links which are as yet unexplored. Seek and ye may find. Some of the links that they offer may involve fees, but I don't think so.general, free
1996-presentIrish Times, unlike the archive. The search engine works. Don't miss Newton Emerson's mad pieces, especially the one on dampness and homeopathy.general, free
?-?Public Record Office of Northern Ireland Mainly Northern Ireland, but some external materialA curious collection of materials from a bbrief trial: my common test term is 'gutta percha', and this turned up some emigrant letters from America. Worth a bit of your time, I thinkNorthern Ireland, free
1839 to 1932Past Papers from New Zealand ZealandThey have 1.3 million pages and 52 titles from across New Zealand. An OCR database lies behind the search, but is neither visible nor correctable. There is, however, a system of highlighting the target word which is a boon. All pages, however, have been shredded to make a column which loses some of the feel.general, free
1831-2006Singapore Pages, Malaya, MalaysiaCurrent and historic Singapore and Malaya newspapers in English. Access to digital newspapers and also untested access to microfilm collections.general, free
recent (some 1983, most 1999+)The Guardian a journal of record, it's better than most.general, free
recentNew Scientist science news, WorldNews stories from the reliable British popular journal, New Scientist. science, free
1785-1985The Times, WorldThis is a dummy entry: the paper is available as a Gale database, and I access it by having a reader's card from the State Library of NSW, but I am uncertain of the locations of any open access. Ask around, because the link will only be useful to holders of reader's cards.archival, free in some library systems
?-?British Library Online Gallery, WorldMore than 30,000 items, they say: I went there looking for Handel (one of the virtual books). The implementation is quite flaky: they require a special plugin, and when you accept their offer to look at the plugin-free version, they say oops, sorry, we haven't got that ready yet. Fred Karno's Army, it seems, lives on.general, free
?-?Plucked from the Web, WorldSylvia Milne and I are on several lists together, and I have a choice here: pinch her links or point at her. While ethics say "point at her", the more practical issue is that she is still adding new links! There is a wealth of stuff to find here, the gleanings of an eagle-eyed retired librarian.general, free
?-?Spartacus Educational, WorldA somewhat left-wing/liberal view of world history. Not wildly imbalanced as I see it, but it pulls few punches, and it is very light-on for original sources. Nonetheless, if you are looking for related names to research, this is worth a visit.general, free
recentThe Scitable Blogosphere, WorldBrought to us by Nature, this portal offers access to loads of science. Their take is that it is a . . . free science library and personal learning tool brought to you by Nature Publishing Group, the world's leading publisher of science. Not far off the mark, and they are certainly the best publisher of science having a marketing arm that would make the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation bunch go green with envy. A big hi to the cubicle slaves in Basingstoke!science, free, blog
1850-1899Harper's New Monthly part of the Making of America collection. Note the search facility. Many of the articles were lifted from British sources, so it should not be regarded as purely US in content.general, free
1851 to presentNew York Times a journal of record, it's better than most.general, free
1857-1901The Atlantic Monthly part of the Making of America collection. Note the search facility. Many of the articles were lifted from British sources, so it should not be regarded as purely US in content.general, free
1780 to presentCalisphere of California: "A World of Primary Sources and More". I came on this as I was finishing phase one of this project, and as yet, I haven't looked very far, but the smells are delicious! There is little text material, and the pictures (but not the photos, it seems) are all zoomable!!general, free
?-?Library of Congress digital collections the friend who sent me this one: The Library of Congress has a lot of digital collections, including historic newspapers, motion pictures, photographs, oral histories, and ephemera. The Edison films collection includes an 1894 film of Annie Oakley (the original, accept no substitutions) demonstrating her skills.General, free, Library of Congress
?-?Library of Congress, American Memory LOC is amazing. When I visited them some years ago, they promptly issued me with a photo-ID user card and performed magic to produce the original of a letter of which I had seen the sender's carbon copy and other stuff. I heard about this online collection in a casual mention, and I haven't explored it much, but it looks good. Drill and burrow--and wave at me if we pass in the corridor!General, free, Library of Congress
?-?Smithsonian Institution huge collection of digital images of sculptures, paintings, taxonomic type specimens, manuscripts, photos, even some from Australia, though they can't spell 'Hawkesbury'. I haven't used this one much as yet, so you're on your own for now.general, free
c. 1900The Klondike database slightly motley collection of items relating to the gold rush in the Klondike at the end of the 19th century. Interesting as a comparison to Australian gold rush rush, free
19th centuryThe Making of America huge range of US books and periodicals, some of which are listed separately. This link is to the browse page, which gives you an idea of the total holdings.general, free
?-?University of North Texas Digital Collections is a neat example of how libraries are likely to function in the future. I have four searches that I use to test a new resource, each a subject of current or past interest: camels, cholera, gold, slaves, which I use, depending on what I know should be there. This one did well on all four (yes, they had camels in Texas once!).general, free
?-?US Patents patents as PDFs. The titles and details have been generated by OCR which can be stunningly unreliable, making some searches little better than needle pursuits in large organised hay piles. It claims to contain some seven million patents.invention, free
1846-1869Vintage Scientific American images, and associated OCR text which is in passable but not ideal quality. All pages are saveable. Free. Part of the Making of America, free
?-?World Weekly News when you thought people were working to raise the overall tone and standard on the web, something like this comes along, and we plummet down again. Use this to convince yourself that the newspapers you read are good for something more than lining bird cages. Don't expect edification.general, free
1996 to presentEurekalert, WorldA database of press releases provided by AAAS (The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the publishers of Science journal. Keep in mind that press releases are given to, free
recentMedline Plus, WorldThis comes from the National Institutes of health in the US, and is about as reliable as a site could be. A web page with a .edu address might be the work of a student or an eccentric, but the .gov is generally a good indicator. Health, drug and disease information.medicine, free
1997 to presentNewswise, WorldOne of my favourites. A database of press releases relating to science. Keep in mind that press releases are given to hyperbole. Some sections and all embargoed press releases are available only to registered journalists, but there is very little held, free
recentSnopes, WorldUrban legends, rumours, yarns, myths, canards, hoaxes, cons, spoofs, scams and more: the low-down on warnings sent by Uncle Arthur about the conspiracy of left-handed people, all dealt with reliably and carefully.general, free
?-?The Free Public Records Directoryhttp://publicrecords.searchsystems.netUSA, WorldThis one is a portal to other people's databases. It is now neat and clean. On my first test, I found a delay before connection and I think some of the sites they linked to had charges. The delay has been taken out, and I could not see any which still have charges.general, mostly free (I think)
1923 to presentTime Archive, WorldThis was from a friend who cautioned me: 'It is NOT all inclusive as I read it, but still good stuff.'general, free
Modern, some historicalBBC Country Profiles the drop-down menus to get to your target country. Using Australia (my home) as my crash-test dummy, it looks good.general, free
GeneralEthnologue: Languages of the World about languages? They say they cover 6909 living languages, and from a quick look, they come at these languages from many angles.general, free
recentEuropean Bioinformatics Institute large collection of genome and genomics databases. This one is professional scientists, and not for shrinking, some require a log-in
?-?Google Books excellent source of online page images, but no OCR. Many works are available in sample-view only, either "limited preview" or "snippet view", but there is clearly a full-text OCR file underlying the search engine.general, free
ModernGoogle Scholar is a truly amazing resource: as a writer, I was unaware until I tested it just now, of who had been citing my books, and what works on me works on other authors.general, free
?-?Internet Archive Text Archive is a high-level access point which is likely to last, so bookmark it! Try drilling down to see the magnificent wealth that they offer.general, free
Either pre-1923 or pre-1870JSTOR early content is academic journals and scholarly stuff. They have now started releasing that material which is unquestionably free of copyright. Their definition is unduly conservative: stuff published before 1923 in the USA and before 1870 in the rest of the world. Oh well, at least they are now letting us have some crumbs (half a million of them!). The seach engine is weak: a search on returns hits on as well. I got around this by searching , though it would probably be better to have an author's name. At the date of adding this link (September 8, 2011), few of the items slated for release are available. They are working on that: look for the little FREE icon. The good news: you DON'T need to log in: just accept the JSTOR terms and conditions. The better news: you can save the PDFs!scholarly, free
?-?ManyBooks collection of some 26,000 ebooks, all free. A mixed bag: poke around in the genres, because there are some good finds here.general, free
recentNational Center for Biotechnology Information portal providing access to a wide range of biological and medical information, up to professional level. Links include Pubmed, where often only the abstract is available.biomedical science, some limits on what can be accessed for free
ModernOlga's Gallery works indexed by artist, country, movement. There are also specialized indexes such as Ancient Greek and Roman Myths, Christian Saints, New Testament, Religion, and World, free
?-?Patent databases and Standards information is an entry point with links to more patents information. From a friend: I'm familiar only with the USPTO's own database, but there were a couple of recommendations for freepatentsonline and Pat2PDF. Patents, free
?-?Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection like maps, and I often need them for tasks in hand. This is usually close to my first stop, but you need to drill down and burrow. Go to 'Australia and the Pacific', but then look for the link to historical maps, for example. The search engine is good, but this site is a bit of a trap if, like me, you like old maps.maps, free
?-?Project Gutenberg big one: thousands and thousands of text files (and other formats) of copyright-free books, and the OCR has been proofed! Hooray! See the separate listing for Project Gutenberg Australia.general, free
recentPublic Library of Science is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. They key phrase is Open Access, but the science is full-strength and undigested. The price of print journals is such that many underdeveloped nations simply cannot afford a proper coverage,science, free
?-?SETIS texts available at Sydney University volumes are only available inside Fisher Library or in some cases, on the University of Sydney network. Read the instructions.general, free with limitations
recentSourceWatch one is a bit different, which is why it is tucked in at the end. They say of themselves: "this collaborative, specialized encyclopedia of the people, organizations, and issues shaping the public agenda. SourceWatch profiles the activities of public relations firms, public relations professionals, think tanks, industry-funded organizations, and industry-friendly experts that work to influence public opinion and public policy on behalf of corporations, governments, and special interests.general, free
? - ?The Artchive works, scanned and for sale. The search engine delivered a lot of hits on other sites for Australian art, free, but you can buy stuff
? - ?The Athenaeum works for the most part. Singularly deficient in Australian artists, but not, free
ModernThe CIA World Fact Book CIA Fact Book sticks to facts, so there should be no reason to distrust it. As always, be aware that there is no such thing as a free lunch.general, free
ModernThe Environmental Working Group, the environment, food, water and much more. They appear legitimate: groups like this always need to be scrutinised, just in case they are an astroturf front.general, free
? - ?The Google Art Project to all sorts of treasure trovesart, free
?-?, probably not recentThe Hathi Trust is a truly massive database of digitised books and other items which can be searched for phrases, quotations and the like. This is the sort of excellent notion that makes one say "Oh, Brave New World"!general, free
post-pre-historyThe Internet History Sourcebooks Project their words: "a collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly (without advertising or excessive layout) for educational use." There appears to be no Australian content, but plenty of primary sources by theme.general, free
recentThe Wayback Machine you want to see an older version of a web page, you may be able to find it archived here, even if the domain has disappeared. No pics as far as I can see.general, free
ModernThe Wayback Machine copies of key old web pages.general, free
?-?University of Pennsylvania Online Books links not only books at Upenn, but also books in other locations like SETIS at Sydney University. Try the author search.general, free
recentWikiLeaks different one. They say "we open governments". I used to work in government, verging on the political level, and I know there were things we preferred not to have known, even at my level, like the origin of the HSC scaling system in NSW in a paper by "Miss Conway", a fictitious researcher created by Cyril Burt to buoy up his fraudulent research. OK, so the Conway paper was high quality, because Burt was trying to give his puppet a good name, but it was thought best left unsaid. There are lots of worse things hidden away out there, and this ageing info-hippie approves, though the question of harm that may be done by the Afghanistan papers is still up for debate.general, free
?-?Wikipedia:List of online newspaper archives seems to cover most of the main points. Makes me wonder why I bothered!general, free
?-?WikiSource languages, around 400,000 pages, including Australian material. Here you can find Paul Keating's 'Redfern Speech', Kevin Rudd's 'Apology to the Stolen Generations', Ned Kelly's Jerilderie letter and other works. They all seem to be exquisitely prepared, with machine-readable text and most illustrations--some proofing is needed.general, free
recentWorld Government Data before you get your conservative paranoid knickers in a twist, there's more than one way of reading the name. This is a portal that lets you access data from assorted governments around the world. So you worry-warts can go back to banging the rocks together and relax, while the rest of us look to see what the world's governments are admitting to knowing and doing.general, free
1800-1900British newspapers small start for such a large institution. A few snippets and peeks for free, but this one seems to be the love-child of Rupert Murdoch and Maggie Thatcher, with a charisma-otomy.British, vestigial
1859-2008Irish Times appallingly over-priced and gouging site, charging 10 euros for 24 hours or 395 euros for a year. Another love-child from the same stable??disgustingly expensive
?-?University College Dublin Library Newspapers is a portal with a number of links which are as yet unexplored. Seek and ye may find. Some of the links that they offer involve fees.Ireland, mixed
1788-1800Sentenced beyond the Seas: Australia's early convict records, AustraliaA list of some 12,000 convicts. I ran a couple of known characters through, and they came up, easily enough. There are links to ship indents, but not a lot about what happened to them after. I guess that can come at some later time.convicts, Australia, Botany Bay, First Fleet, Second Fleet, transportation
"a thousand years"UK National Archives portal"1,000 years of government information, from parchment to websites" including Births, marriages and deaths, Census records, Citizenship and naturalisation, Divorce, Passenger lists, Wills. Fees obtain in some if not all sections.archival, fees charged
recentNature, WorldWithout a doubt, one of the main prestigious journals in science. They have some free news on the front page, but the rest is off-limits unless you news, some free
1880 to presentScience excellent source of science. The search is free, but you need to either subscribe or pay for downloads I think (I subscribe anyhow).archival, fees charged
recentCurrent Scientific American, WorldOne of the reliable popular journals. There is some stuff that is free to read, more is available if you purchase the digital edition or news, some free


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It was created on December 9, 2009 and last revised January 29, 2013.
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