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CRES 110 - Methods in CRES (Baker, Fall 2023)

What is an archive?

An archive is a collection of records in any format (print, electronic/digital, or material) that document the history of a particular place, issue, era, or organization. Archives preserve the original or primary source documents of  or the physical facility in which they are located. Archives contain mainly primary source documents: materials that offer first-hand testimony or contemporary accounts of events, happenings, or topics, written or witnessed by persons who directly witnessed those events. 

UC Merced Special Collections

The Special Collections Archive can be accessed online at:

Unfortunately, the physical space in which Special Collections is housed is closed due to the pandemic. However, a large portion of the collection has been digitized and is available online. The archive includes:


What is a Primary Source?

A primary source is an original document or object created at the time under study.

Digital archives around the country

Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)
A vast archival collection of primary source documents from libraries, museums, and archives around the country. Try "Primary Source Sets" in the menu bar at the top, or "Browse by Topic."

The Library of Congress
Located in the District of Columbia, the Library of Congress is the largest repository of information in the world. Try "Digital Collections" to see examples of what LOC has to offer.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Click the menu (the three bars in the upper left corner), then "Academic Research," then "Tools for Research" to find primary source documents. Try "Collections Search" or "Electronic Resources." The latter is a particularly rich collection of archival documents related to the Holocaust.

OEDb - Open Education Database
This is a collection of links to state archives, dedicated to various historical eras and topics.