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Searching for Primary Sources

UK Libraries provides access to a number of e-resources or databases which specialize in primary sources for historical research. To get started, visit our guide to historical research, which provides quick links to some of the most popular databases with primary sources. 

Kentucky & Regional Collections

UK Libraries also houses an array of archival and primary source materials documenting the history of Kentucky, Appalachia, and the Ohio River Valley region. These include manuscript collections, university records, rare books, photographs, organizational records, oral histories, newspapers, maps, architectural drawings, and government publications

Many of these materials are housed in the Special Collections Research Center. Find more information about conducting research at the SCRC, or view our collections.


Use ExploreUK to search our extensive holdings of archival materials, primary sources, and other rare and unique materials. 

Free and publicly accessible, ExploreUK is also your gateway for browsing the many archival and primary source materials that have been digitized.

Collection guides contain detailed information about particular collections of papers or records, and often contain an inventory list. They can help you determine if materials are relevant to your research.

Search for collection guides by filtering your search results by format.

SPOKEdb Oral History Catalog

Use SPOKEdb to browse our collection of oral history interviews spanning an incredible breadth of topics, touching particularly on lived experiences of 20th century Kentucky and Appalachia.