Digital Archives for Research and Teaching Purposes in World History

Digital Archives for Research and Teaching Purposes in World History

Lately on social media, I have been encountering many interesting digital archives focusing on regions from around the world. Some of these resources can also be applied for teaching purposes in a K–12 context. For this post, I’ll highlight a few that are worth exploring if you are looking to expand your curriculum with new digital resources!

LLILAS Benson’s Curriculum

The LLILAS Benson’s Curriculum is a free website that “features high-quality, critical teaching and learning materials” focused on Latin American, U.S. Latinx, and African Diaspora studies and collections from the Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin. Users can search for primary sources from those regions, and instructors can adapt their assignments and teaching plans. Topics include the Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America and Peru in the 1920s. They have broken down their assignments by K–12 and undergraduate level, too. 

Digital Library of the Middle East

Digital Library of the Middle East “offers free and open access to the rich cultural legacy of the Middle East and North Africa by bringing together collections from a wide range of cultural heritage institutions.” Users can explore manuscripts, photographs, digital books, and papers from 622 to 1924 C.E. If you are planning to show objects virtually from those periods in the Middle East and North Africa, this may be a great site to start. In addition to this resource, NYPL’s Digital Collections is also a very comprehensive free resource on digital images and sources. 

African History DigITal Document Portal

African History DigITal Document Portal is a free site that “curates electronic and digitized copies of historical documents and field research materials, archives, and other sources of information that scholars & researchers of Africa have collected over many years of their work.” It’s a new site, and the current content will expand into other areas. If you have students conducting an assignment on digital collections particularly from a researcher’s perspective and about African history, this site may be one to explore further.

Secondary Education Module from the Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative

The Secondary Education Module (SEM) is a free site that aims to “provide teachers of grades 6–12 and community college with curriculum content, selected scholarship, and pedagogical resources” related to the Middle East and North Africa. From the Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative, users can find curriculum materials, teaching resources, and readings about the region. Their open source material is also a great place to start for students to identify different topics ranging from gender in the Middle East to “Political Islam.” These learning curricula can be adapted into your own as well. 

Southeast Asia Digital Library

The Southeast Asia Digital Library (SEADL) is another useful site that “provides educators, students, scholars, and members of the general public with a wide variety of materials published or otherwise produced in Southeast Asia.” Users can explore resources under Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Vietnam. They can also browse by format to find videos, maps, posters, and other assets in the database. For those interested in teaching Southeast Asian history and culture, SEADL can be a site to share with students to find source materials of interest. 

World History Resources from Infobase

Infobase features a wealth of databases and other content loaded with information on world history for colleges and universities and for K–12 schools and districts, including:

  • Ancient & Medieval History and Modern World History, which both feature specially selected content—including articles, sharable slideshows, videos, primary sources, and more—that provides a study guide for research.
  • Issues & Controversies in History, which features objective, unbiased articles that provide clear pro and con arguments on hundreds of controversies in U.S. and world history. Each article is centered on original documents, with the goal of teaching students how to interpret primary sources, assess point of view, improve critical-thinking skills, and understand the forces that have shaped U.S. and world history.

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