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Online Resources: Free Databases

Links to help you find digital resources of all kinds.

Free Databases

Avalon Project - “digital documents relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government.”

BioMed Central Almost 300 peer-reviewed journals in all aspects of biology and medicine.

Calisphere  Over 750,000 images, texts, and recordings from California’s libraries, museums and archives.

Churchill Archive “...source material for British and world history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.”

CIA World Factbook THE source for current statistics and information about the nations of the world.

Database of Open Access Journals Just what it says, “ca. 9000 open access journals covering all areas of science, technology, medicine, social science and humanities.”

Digital Public Library of America “... a collection of millions of cultural heritage objects from libraries, archives, and museums across the country.”

Google ScholarFrom one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites.” Use this with Unpaywall, described below.

Internet History Sourcebooks Project  “is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly (without advertising or excessive layout) for educational use.”

LearnTechLib    Over 100,000 articles and abstracts focusing on learning and technology.

Infotopia  “ academic search engine accessing only trusted websites previously selected by librarians, teachers, and library and educational consortia.”

Library of Congress American Memory Project “...provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. It is a digital record of American history and creativity.”

OAPEN “...freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of humanities and social sciences.”

PBS LearningMedia “...provides PreK-12 educators with access to free digital content…” “...provides professionally-researched pro, con, and related information on more than 50 controversial issues…”

Project Gutenberg The oldest digital library, PG was founded in 1971 as a project to digitize books in the public domain. It currently contains more than 53,000 free ebooks.

Public Domain Review A project of the Open Knowledge Foundation, the PDR is an online journal and project that includes curated collections of images, books, audio and film, as well as in-depth essays from experts, mainly in the areas of the arts and literature.

Public Library of Science (PLOS) “...a nonprofit Open Access publisher, innovator and advocacy organization....”

Sci-Hub A controversial website that hosts millions of articles obtained by bypassing publisher paywalls.

Wilson Center - International History Declassified -  “contains once-secret documents from governments all across the globe, uncovering new sources and providing fresh insights into the history of international relations and diplomacy. “

Unpaywall is a project developed by Impactstory, a nonprofit working to make science more open and reusable online, supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 8.30.15 AM

So if you are searching on Google or on Google Scholar and you see a perfect article and you don’t see a happy HTML or PDF note on the right of the results, and you cannot get to the document without access to the wealth of a university library login, give this a try.  Click on the result and see if one of these little tabs floats along the right edge of the screen.

When you view a research article, you’ll see a tab on the right of your screen:

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 10.26.05 AM

a green tab means free legal full text is available

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 10.26.10 AMA gray tab means the search came up empty.

Note that the Nature article here would cost $32 to read on Shot 2017-03-29 at 11.28.31 AM

Note also: My personal testing reveal a whole lot more gray tabs than green ones and it seems that tabs appear more frequently for article in the sciences and social sciences. is a growing organism. Not all repositories have yet been included and it doesn’t yet pull from a few portals where researchers voluntarily upload content, like or ResearchGate.

Excerpted from: Valenza, Joyce. "Unpaywall: Free, legal access to scholarly articles! (and a couple of other strategies)." NeverEnding Search., 29 Mar. 2017.

United Nations International School, Hanoi