The links below offer starting points for conducting research on the Pacific Northwest.
Local and regional archives are great places to find original documents and materials. Use the links below to plan an archival visit or take advantage of the increasing number of resources available online. Most historical societies and museums have their own archival holdings as well. Click here for additional links.
Alaska Digital Archives
Combining the resources of three major Alaska libraries, this digital archive offers over five thousand searchable images, oral histories, and documents pertaining to the history of Alaska.
British Columbia Archives
Located in Victoria, British Columbia, this is the central archives for the B.C. government. The archives' search form allows keyword searching of indexes, including textual records, photographs, sound recordings, and maps. Other features include numerous online exhibitions, research guides, and full-text documents.
Labor Archives of Washington State
LAWS includes more than 200 separate collections of labor related materials. In volume, size, and scope, LAWS is one of the largest repositories of labor history in the United States.
Memory BC provides a searchable database of the materials available at nearly 200 archival repositories throughout British Columbia.
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
The National Archives' Pacific Alaska Region has its headquarters in Seattle and serves as a Records Center, storing records from Federal agencies and courts in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. A smaller archive is located in Anchorage, Alaska. The website includes an archival holdings guide, online exhibits, and information on events and workshops.
Northwest Digital Archives
NWDA provides enhanced access to archival and manuscript materials in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. The database currently contains nearly 5,000 finding aids from twenty-nine separate archives.
Southern Oregon Digital Archives
This digital archive contains three collections—Southern Oregon Historical Collection, Bioregion Collection, and First Nations Collections—containing over 2,200 photographs, documents, maps, and books.
University of Washington Digital Archive
The University of Washington has digitized over sixty individual collections about Washington, the Pacific Northwest, and the American West. Find samples of unique and unpublished artifacts such as photographs, architectural plans, historical maps, artwork, correspondence, pamphlets, and ephemera.
Alaska and Polar Periodical Index
A searchable index of over 150,000 articles dealing with Alaska, northern Canada, northern Scandinavia, the Russian Far East, and Antarctica.
Hubert Wenger Eskimo Database
A database of full-text sources pertaining to Eskimos.
Libraries—and their websites—are great places to start a research project. The sites below offer a range of resources including digital catalogues, databases, research links, and helpful research hints. Some resources are only available within the library, while others require patron login.
Seattle Public Library
Under "Library Collection" find links to the library catalog, special collections, databases, and other useful links.
Tacoma Public Library
The Tacoma Public Library offers many resources exploring the history of Tacoma and the Pacific Northwest. Under the "Northwest Room" link find photo collections, building indexes, a historic ships and shipping database, and a number of other useful resources.
University of Alaska and Alaska Pacific University Consortium Library
University of Oregon Libraries
University of Washington Libraries
Vancouver Public Library
Contains research guides, special collections, databases, and historic photographs.
The world’s largest library catalog, pulling information from over 10,000 different libraries.
Newspaper research is becoming easier as indexes and even whole newspapers have been digitized. The links below include lists of regional newspapers, searchable indexes, and digital archives. Many libraries have subscriptions to additional newspaper databases and archives.
Alaska Newspapers on Microfilm
A complete, searchable guide to all Alaska newspapers available on microfilm.
One of the earliest British Columbia newspapers. The searchable digital archive spans from 1858 to 1919.
Historic Newspapers in Washington
The office of the Washington Secretary of State has developed a digital collection of newspapers dating back to 1852.
Northwest History Database
This website contains thousands of scanned newspaper clippings from Washington State University's extensive Pacific Northwest Newspaper Clippings Collection. Most clippings were collected in the 1930s as part of a Depression era work program and focus on the settlement and development of the Northwest. In addition, this searchable database contains an extensive collection of government reports and documents dealing with Indians, dams, and legislation.
Pacific Northwest Regional Newspaper and Periodical Index
The Regional Index contains citations from hundreds of newspapers and periodicals as well as monographs, theses, dissertations, scrapbooks, pamphlets and other ephemera dealing with all aspects of life in Seattle, Washington state and the Pacific Northwest from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. The Regional Index began as a card file in 1936.At the present time, more than 116,000 citations are searchable and hundreds of citations are being added each week.
Oregon Newspaper Index
The University of Oregon has created searchable indexes for three Oregon newspapers, including the The Portland Oregonian.
The links below offer an introduction to some of the more important elements of researching and writing history.
This guide to avoiding plagiarism explains the problems with plagiarism and how to give proper credit to sources.
An overview of how to cite different types of sources, appropriate for many college students.
Primary vs. Secondary Sources
An explanation of the differences between primary and secondary sources.
Scholarly vs. Popular Sources
An overview of the differences between scholarly and popular sources.
A guide to reading, researching, and writing history designed for college students.