How to discover primary sources for the History of Europe ? Using the EHPS portal of course !

European History Primary Sources-FB-July-2015European History Primary Sources, the portal for accessing digital primary sources for the History of Europe from the medieval period to nowadays grew a lot during the academic year 2014-2015. In June 2015 the number of followers of the EHPS Facebook page was more then 2.000.

As you may now, the purpose of EHPS is to provide an easily searchable index of scholarly digital repositories that contain primary sources for the history of Europe. As the number of digital archives on the internet continues to grow, finding and selecting digital repositories becomes increasingly difficult. EHPS strives to fill that gap by listing the most important collections of digital primary sources for the history of Europe, either as a whole or for single countries. EHPS is updated continuously and Dr. Sandra Toffolo, from July 2013, new project manager and contributor, presented the portal at the International Federation for Public History 1st conference at the University of Amsterdam in October 2014 in a panel dedicated to Public History and Access to Sources chaired by Dr. Constance B. Schulz, University of South Carolina, USA. Her paper about Publically available digital historical Cendari Collaborative European Digital Archive Infrastructuresources and their users: the case of the European History Primary Sources (EHPS) Portal at the European University Institute was presented together with Francesca Morselli’s paper on CENDARI and the Archival Research Guides. Historical Research in a Digital Research Infrastructure.

That same week, I thought a course on alternative narratives for the history of Europe available in heritage and cultural institutions (Libraries, Archives, Museums, Galleries) and, also, in EU institution themselves. The seminar was entitled Digital narratives for the History of Europe and was hosted in Prof. Andreas Fickers Digital History seminar at the University of Luxembourg. I explained there the goals and purposes of the EUI Library and Department of History and Civilization digital project for accessing Open Access primary sources for the History of Europe: EHPS – European History Primary Sources.

After the presentation and during the next weeks, students were asked to review critically and to comment one of the projects described during the lesson.  They do so systematically in their blog:  h-Europe, a blog about European Historiography. Many students attending the seminar chose to analyze critically the European History Primary Sources portal EHPS maintained by the EUI Library and the EUI History Department.  


h-europe - A Blog about European Historiography10 different reviews were written in French, German and English.

They are available in H-europe at the following URLs for who’s interested in how to review digital history projects using blog posts and as a pedagogical activity in the field.


Larry Cooperman, (University of Central Florida Libraries, reviewed the EUI Library and History Department Portal for accessing Open Access Sources, European History Primary Sources for College and Research Libraries News. See here for his review  which is quoted also entirely below.


European History Primary Sources“Created in 2009 by the Library and Department of History and Civilization of the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, the European History Primary Sources (EHPS) website is a portal that provides access to scholarly digital repositories and other portals dealing with all facets of European history, from ancient to modern times. The site’s coordinators acknowledge the difficulty of including all digital collections of primary source materials, but they strive to provide access to the major national digital libraries, and the site is updated continuously.

Users can quickly and easily search the website by browsing by country, language, subject, time period, and type of resource. Subjects range from art and education to military and sport, and the types of resources include dictionaries, drawings, interviews, letters, maps, pamphlets, photos, posters, sheet music, and more. Researchers can also take advantage of free text and tag searching as well as a saved repository search. For example, tag searching makes it possible for the researcher to search across multiple categories such as 19th-century French newspapers simply by clicking on the appropriate tags.

The EHPS homepage showcases the latest primary source additions to the site, such as access to the manuscripts of the French writer Stendahl, as well as narrowly focused, hard-to-find material, such as “Witches in Early Modern England.” The site features a help link, which provides searching tips on the site as well as guidance for searching within other digital repositories directly, including implementing deep search web engines and portals. The homepage also offers a suggestion link for users to recommend web sources to include on the EHPS site. Finally, users can stay updated by subscribing to the EHPS email list, RSS feeds, and Facebook and Twitter links.

The EHPS website is a comprehensive and diverse web portal for professional and amateur users who are interested in finding all types and areas of scholarly information dealing with all facets and time periods of European history. Highly recommended.”



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