There is no single website that you can go to in order to find digitised or born-digital archives. They are spread across an array of archive catalogues, content management systems and micro-sites.
The links below are by no means exhaustive. Most archives will have some proportion of material available digitally, usually predominantly image-based. The criteria for inclusion in this list are:
Although the collections have been grouped into subject areas to make this guide easier to use, many of them will support multiple strands of research. For example, medical records will also include a lot of information about social history, while arts collections are likely to overlap with LGBTQ+ history.
Helen Keller was was a feminist, a social activist, and a pacifist, as well as a prolific writer. She was also deaf and blind from the age of 19 months. Her digital archive includes correspondence, speeches and photographs, and is fully accessible to blind, deaf, deafblind, sighted, and hearing audiences alike.
Bringing together material from the British Library's Oral History Archive, the Mass Observation Project and the University of Sussex's ephemera collection, this educational resource covers issues such as the Poll Tax, AIDS and the Falklands Conflict.
Although a photograph collection, this archive has been included because of its comprehensive metadata and - unusually - scanning both the front and back of each photograph, allowing them to be used both as a document and as an image.
Famous women's liberation movement magazine which ran from 1972-1993. Please note that this digital resource many cease to exist after the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020, due to its reliance on EU copyright legislation.
Moving image collections from 70 organisations covering a huge range of topics, browsable by theme and borough, as well as searchable.
Newsletters of the University's predecessor institution, the Regent Street Polytechnic. Covers life in London, sports, social and religious activities, alongside wider themes such as emigration and the British Empire.
Interviews with a huge range of people in a variety of industries and from different background, covering everything from food production to immigration. Not all interviews are online but there are clear subject guides detailing what is and isn't available.
Transcriptions of court proceedings 1674-1913. Includes useful context information, such as essays on the reliability of the proceedings as a historical record.
The Modern Records Centre at Warwick has a particular specialism in the papers of Trade Unions, and their digital collections include the journals from the Fire Brigades Union and the National Union of Railwaymen, as well as papers relating to General Strike, Easter Rising, Spanish Civil War and the Russian Revolution. They also hold the National Cycle Archive.
Divided Society (Ireland 1990-1998)
Another resource from Linen Hall (see Arts), this brings together political publications and posters relating to the conflict and peace process. Access is free for anyone in the UK and Ireland, after registration, but there is a charge for accessing the site outside these geographical areas.
Archive of a key negotiator between the British government and the IRA, from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Political memorabilia relating to the Labour movement in Leicestershire in the period c.1889-1909
Material from the Royal Archives dating from the reigns of George I to William IV, including personal letters, diaries, account books and records of the Royal Household.
Digital library of anarchist and protest publications and ephemera from the Nottingham area.
Documents, books and newspapers relating to the Peterloo Massacre that took place in 1819.
Material from the Women's Library collection, held at LSE. Includes newspapers, journals, pamphlets, leaflets and annual reports of different suffrage groups from the late 19th century to 1928
Maps of the UK, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.
See also Orwell Archive under Arts, the UK National Archives under Wartime, and Colored Conventions under International..
Digitised copies of the coded diaries kept by the English landowner known as 'Gentleman Jack', recently the subject of a TV series.
Bringing together digitised material from a huge variety of collections across the world, but with a focus on North America. The term transgender is used to refer to a broad and inclusive range of non-normative gender practices.
See also David Wojnarowicz Papers, Tate Archive and Archives of American Art under Arts, Turing Digital Archive under Science and Engineering
Tate's archive collections document artistic practice in the UK from the late 19th century to the present day. They also cover topics such as wartime, LGBTQ+ identities and relationships, and the occult.
Papers of artists, galleries and individuals involved in the arts. Like the Tate collection, the papers cover a wide range of topics beyond the arts, such as immigration, education, LGBTQ+ identities and relationships, race and gender.
Digitised collections of literary manuscripts from authors based in Northern Ireland
Notebooks, correspondence and manuscripts of author George Orwell, covering both his fiction and political interests.
Includes huge numbers of literary collections from American, British and Irish writers such as Henry James, Oscar Wilde and Robert Louis Stevenson, as well as collections relating to magic and the circus.
Archive of the English Folk Dance and Song society.
British conceptual artist. Experimental digitsation site enabling users to search the archive through three different methods.
Polish-American artist and activist. His journals have been digitised, covering 1971 to shortly before his death from AIDS in 1992.
Held at the New York Public Library, this collection includes both administrative and production notes for this Off-Broadway theatre.
Website arising from a 2006 exhibition documenting music and sound in relation to gender. The website includes talks, performances and interviews that took place with and by creators as part of the exhibition.
From the Hip Hop collections at Cornell University. Covers years 1970-1989.
Held at the University of Durham, the collection predominantly covers the administration of the region from 1898-1955, but has since been expanded to include material up to the present day. The archive is primarily in English.
Digitisation of archival material at risk of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration. The projects can be filtered by language, script, country and topic.
Digitisation of material relating to the Brooke family, known as the White Rajahs, of Sarawak, Malaysia. Records are in English.
Hosted by the University of Texas, this comprehensive resource includes over 10 million images. There is detailed guidance on how to use the digital archive, as well as historical context for the records. Records are in Spanish.
Digitisation of documents from the UK National Archives relating to the Gulf region, hosted by The National Archives of the United Arab Emirates. Descriptions of the documents are searchable in English and Arabic, but the documents are primarily in English.
The University's collection of over 800 Chinese propaganda posters have all been digitised and are available online, searchable in English and Chinese.
Digitisation of documents relating to nineteenth-century Black political organising in North America, from the 1830s onwards. Includes a great deal of contextual information and online exhibitions, as well as the records themselves.
Huge resource of collections relating to the New York area. The collections are largely image based - photographs, maps and printed materials - and not all are accessible remotely. Some text-based collections which may be useful are:
Born-digital and digitised records from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Covers the general administrative functions as well as thematic areas such as World War I and the shot-lived Republic of Texas.
Key negotiator between the New Zealand government and Māori in the mid-19th century. The collection includes correspondence in both English and Māori, with transcriptions and translations provided of the latter.
The Library of Congress is the national library of the United States and includes a broad range of collections covering American History, Politics, Arts and Social History. Highlights include:
The LoC's digital collectins also include a large number of Web Archives, which are discussed here.
See also British Library Maps collection under Political.
Covering the history of medicine in the UK, the Wellcome Library should be your first point of call for researching health archives. Digital collections include:
Complete digitisation of the records of The Retreat private asylum, founded by the Society of Friends in 1796. The catalogue can be browsed on the Borthwick Archive and images are hosted by the Wellcome Library.
See also: UK National Archives and First World War Volunteers under Wartime and the Modern Records Centre under Political.
Brings together Darwin's letters from multiple collections. Some are available digitally and some only as transcriptions.
Irish engineer who worked in Hawaii and San Francisco
Papers of 22 scientists and organisations, from the Wellcome and other collections, relating to both genetics and eugenics.
Digitised documents from the 1860s-1970s. Includes administrative files and research reports.
Historical weather data and administrative files.
Personal papers of Alan Turing, renowned World war II codebreaker.
The UK National Archives holds the records of the UK government and civil service. Records available digitally are largely those of interest to genealogists, but will also be useful to researchers looking at wartime and immigration. They also include a large number of government datasets on topics as varied as AIDs, bat conservation and coastal surveys.
Cambridge University's online collections include a wide range of material from arabic manuscripts to the papers of genetic scientists. They also hold several collections relating to the two world wars:
Digitised material from the Norfolk Record Office relating to the Second World War.
Database of index cards of WW1 volunteers through the British Red Cross. No option to browse the cards or filter via a dropdown menu so difficult to use for non-geneaological research, but possible with some speculative searching.
Records from the Archives Nationales in France relating to World War II.
See also Wellcome Library under Health, Turing Digital Archive under Science and Engineering