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Spanish Primary Sources Guide

A guide to locating primary sources in Spanish about Spain.

Getting Started

Finding primary sources can be a challenge, especially those originating outside the US. This guide lists some tips and starting points for doing primary source research, but by no means is it exhaustive! Please reach out to a research librarian if you need personalized guidance for your particular research topic.

General tips:

Start with secondary research. Journal articles, books, book chapters, and even dissertations can provide adequate "breadcrumbs" to individual primary sources or even full collections similar to the ones below. However, note that not all of the primary sources cited will be digitized and readily accessible. 

Think about collections, not individual sources. Rather than looking for one individual primary source, zoom out a little and consider what "containers" your ideal source might be in. Looking for political cartoons critiquing Spanish Nationalists? Try to find a Spanish political cartoon collections first, then search or browse within that collection to find examples. Still not finding anything? Zoom out even further to look for Spanish newspapers from that time period that would publish political cartoons. 

Think about your search terms. Finding primary sources requires a different search mindset than what you'd use for finding secondary coverage. Once you've found some digital collections that seem promising, using proper nouns (names, organizations, events, etc.) will be more successful than concepts or themes. You may also need to adjust your search terms based on colloquial terminology of the time (even if we'd never use that language today). Finally, it probably goes without saying, but just in case - you want to search in Spanish, not English.

Google is your friend. Unlike secondary research, which often resides behind paywalls, nearly all of the digitized primary sources you are likely to use will be openly available for public use (often due to government or grant funding for cultural preservation). ArchiveGrid (linked below) can also be helpful for finding primary source collections, though that source searches through both in-person and online collections. 

General starting points for primary sources in Spain:


Digital Spanish Collections

More specific digital primary source collections:

These collections are more focused in content - think the primary source equivalent of JSTOR versus Google Scholar. Some will be extremely focused on one narrow subject, while others will still have a wide variety of content. Checking out a collection's About page is a good way to see what the focus of the website is.