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Renaissance Studies: Databases

Library subject guide for Renaissance studies

Why use databases

Databases for the study of the humanities provide access to a huge range of primary source archives online. They allow you to search and access material without having to travel to archives and can bring material from across different archives together under a theme. They can also provide character recognition, full-text search, transcripts along with supporting contextual analysis, accompanying essays or tools such as timelines to help you make sense of the material you are working with. 

Gale Primary Sources

Gale Primary Sources provides access to over 2 centuries of unique and rare newspapers, books, manuscripts, maps and photographs through detailed subject indexing, interactive tools and enriched metadata. It allows cross searching of 14 key primary source databases, including

  • 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection
  • Eighteenth Century Collections Online.
  • British Library Newspapers
  • The Making of the Modern World

Library Search

Library Search

Database Spotlight


With approximately 300 collections composed of over 2 million images* (and growing), scholars can examine wide-ranging material such as Native American art from the Smithsonian, treasures from the Louvre, and panoramic, 360-degree views of the Hagia Sophia in a single, easy-to-use resource.

Key Primary Sources

Defining Gender (1406-1910)

Defining Gender explores the study and analysis of gender through primary source material from British archives. Documents include ephemera, pamphlets, commonplace books, diaries, periodicals, letters, ledgers, account books, etc

Aristoteles Latinus Database (ALD).

The Aristoteles Latinus Database aims at documenting the various tools that were used in the Middle Ages for the study of Aristotle, with a special emphasis on Latin translations. The most important objective of the project is to bring to scholarly attention the various forms in which Aristotle’s texts came to be read in the West. The Latin versions of these texts constituted the main tools for the study of science and philosophy in the Middle Ages. They were considered to be the canonized littera to which all the commentaries on Aristotle’s works referred. The role played by these translations in the development of Western philosophical and scientific terminology can thus hardly be overestimated.

The Index of Medieval Art

The Index of Medieval Art online database collections include images and descriptive data related to the iconography of works of art produced between late Antiquity and the sixteenth century.


Making of the Modern World

The Making of the Modern World: Part I, The Goldsmiths'-Kress Collection, 1450-1850 offers ways of understanding the expansion of world trade, the Industrial Revolution, and the development of modern capitalism, supporting research in a variety of disciplines. This collection follows the development of the modern western world through the lens of trade and wealth – the driving force behind many of the major historical events during the period (1450-1850). The database provides access to  an abundance of rare books and primary source materials, many of which are the only known copy of the work.

The Perdita Manuscripts

This resource is produced in association with the Perdita Project based at the University of Warwick and Nottingham Trent University. The quest of the Perdita Project has been to find early modern women authors who were “lost” because their writing exists only in manuscript form.
The manuscripts in this site were written or compiled by women in the British Isles during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and they have been sourced from archives and libraries across the United Kingdom and the USA. One of the key attractions of Perdita Manuscripts is that it brings together little known material from widely scattered locations.

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Library online courses

Find out about the online courses we offer for all students to help develop both your wider academic skills and skills in using the Library for your research.