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Penryn History: Home

Subject Guide - help and guidance on finding resources in your subject area

Welcome to your LibGuide

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Welcome to your Penryn History LibGuide.

Use this guide to help you make the most of the Library and Information resources and services 

New to the University?  Explore the Library Induction to learn all about the Library basics. 

Your Library Champion

Your library Champion (Cornwall) is Meghan Chapman 

ASK -Study Skills at Penryn

Find out all about academic skills support at the Cornwall campus. Take advantage of the online support materials available through the Study Hub

Additional e-library collections available during coronavirus period

Some publishers have temporarily opened up their online collections to support students during this period. Library updates and a full list of new e-collections can be found here.  We expect this list to grow over the next few weeks so keep checking back.

Where to start your search

Library Search

Search for textbooks, ebooks, journals, articles + more.

The Library Search LibGuide is available for guidance.

For a full selection of databases and archives, use the A-Z Databases List.

Expand your searching

Key Databases for History

Research databases index the global literature and provide references to journal articles, books, conference proceedings,  reports etc that match your search criteria. They help you to find information about previous publications in your research field.

The following databases will help you discover material related to History. You have access to further resources via the History subject list area in the A-Z Databases list

Reference resources are essential for background reading and planning your assignments and research. They provide an overview of a topic area or period and allow you to develop an understanding of the key works, thinkers and scholars in your area of study.

Here are a selection of reference resources recommended for history students and researchers:

Use the A-Z Database List to access the full list of databases the library subscribes to.  

You can browse by subject e.g. History or by type (e.g.maps, news, images etc.) or search to find your required resources.

Explore the full A to Z Database list:

JSTOR provides access to scholarly book, journal and primary sources.

Use the How to Search JSTOR LibGuide for an introduction to the service or take a look at JSTOR's Vimeo channel for educational and instructional videos. 
Use the History Resources on JSTOR guide for a background on the history content available on this platform.

Mass Observation was a pioneering social research organisation which encouraged British people to submit diary entries, reports, essays and photographs about their lives between 1937-1965. The archives are available online and provide insight into the cultural and social history of Britain.

You can access the online archive using the link below:

Box of Broadcasts (BoB) is an extensive archive of free-to-air TV programmes and radio shows

  • Search the archive to find programmes relating to your subject
  • Record programmes from over 65 free-to-air channels and add to the archive for others to view
  • Create your own clips and playlists

  • Statistics is the science of collecting, analysing and presenting numerical data.

  • Statistical data can be found on a huge variety of subjects, for example the economy, employment, the environment, government, health, international trade, manufacturing, and population.

  • They can be a vital source of information for your studies.

Find out more on the Statistics LibGuide.

Explore research materials available elsewhere

  • Library Hub Discover - Search the catalogues of over 100 major UK and Irish national, academic and specialist libraries to find books, journals and other materials

  • WorldCAT - Search the collections of over 10,000 worldwide libraries  

  • The European Library - Access to the collections of the 48 National Libraries of Europe and leading European Research Libraries.

  • The Library of Congress -  Catalogue records of the print and digital resources held in the Library of Congress collections (USA)

  • LibWeb - Find online library catalogues worldwide

  • CORE - Search the world's largest collection of open access research papers

Primary Sources

The University has access to an extensive range of online primary source materials. These contain digitised copies of documents, letters, books, photographs and other primary sources. 

The Primary Sources Libguide will help you identify the best databases for your research. 


Alternatively, ​click on the links below to find primary sources that have been organised into categories.


Find the full list of Primary Source databases here:

The Adam Matthew Research Collection provides access to over 80 primary source collections that support the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.  

The University of Exeter is the only European university with access to the entire Adam Matthew collection.

Find out more here.

View the entire Adam Matthew collection by clicking in the drop down menu:

This database contains the following collections (all of which can be searched individually too):

  • Archives of Sexuality and Gender
  • Archives Unbound
  • British Library Newspapers
  • Crime, Punishment, and Popular Culture, 1790-1920
  • Daily Mail Historical Archive, 1896-2004
  • Eighteenth Century Collections Online
  • Financial Times Historical Archive
  • Nineteenth Century Collections Online
  • Nineteenth Century UK Periodicals
  • Punch Historical Archive, 1841-1992
  • Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Burney Newspapers Collection
  • Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Nichols Newspapers Collection
  • The Economist Historical Archive, 1843-2015
  • The Illustrated London News Historical Archive, 1842-2003
  • The Independent Historical Archive
  • The Sunday Times Historical Archive
  • The Telegraph Historical Archive
  • The Times Digital Archive
  • The Times Literary Supplement Historical Archive, 1902-2014

Proquest Research Collection is made up of a wide selection of primary source collections with coverage across time and the world.

The separate collections include historical newspapers, magazines and journals, plus parliamentary papers and book collections spanning across ancient to modern times.

Find out more here.


View the entire 2021 Proquest Research Collection collection by clicking in the drop down menu:

The Library's Special Collections department houses primary sources in many formats including letters, diaries, manuscripts and photos, which can be accessed via their dedicated reading room in the Research Commons, Old Library. 

Visit the Archives and Special Collections LibGuide for more information.

Find out how to search the archives for rare books and materials here.

Use the Archive Catalogue Search to find out what is available.

Our comprehensive online news collections range from local news to news publications from around the world and span a wide range of dates.


Find out more on the Archival News LibGuide 

Access the different archival news collections here:

  • Official publications are documents and other resources produced by Parliament and Government during the course of parliamentary and government business.
  • Content ranges from statements of law and policy to government reports and statistics.  
  • These publications can be a very valuable primary research source as they address all aspects of governmental work such as science, education, law, agriculture, transport, health etc.

Find out more in the Official Publications LibGuide.

Effective Searching & Referencing

It is important to plan your search strategy, and manage your search results so that you get the most from your online searching.

Keep a record of all the material you need to cite in your assignments, papers, projects etc. 

Use the Search Techniques and Referencing guidance to assist you.

  • It is  easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer breadth of information available to you.  
  • Invest time in planning an effective online search strategy so that you can quickly and easily discover relevant and high quality information. 


As you search you need to keep track of all the material you will be using in your academic work so that you can cite and reference it appropriately.

Top Tip

Always check your module handbook for specific departmental guidance on the style required for your assessed works and dissertations.  Check with your personal tutor or dissertation supervisor if you need clarification.

For more guidance take a look at:


You may like to take a look at:

Find out more about the skills support available to help you develop a range of academic skills including essay writing, referencing, critical reading and getting the most out of lectures.

Academic Skills Support

Sage Research Methods Online (SRMO) is a great resource to use when you are planning and conducting your research. 

It is targeted at social science researchers but is useful across all subject areas as it covers key research methodology topics that are applicable across the research spectrum.

Sage have produced a comprehensive LibGuide to help you get the best from the resource.

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