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History Resources During COVID-19

A guide to online resources and repositories available while libraries are closed.

Accessing Books and eBooks

Library buildings are closed. Print collections are neither accessible or circulating. However, many library materials, including books, are available in electronic formats that are accessible from home. Moreover, many publishers and library consortia have opened up new reserves of electronic books that are normally not accessible to WSU scholars due to copyright and licensing restrictions. Five major resource providers have stepped up to help scholars access full-text eBooks while print is not available: the WSU Library, interlibrary loan for book chapters identified via Google BooksProject Muse, HathiTrust, and the Internet Archive.

WSU Library Catalog

WSU Libraries provides instant access to tens of thousands of eBooks currently in our subscriptions and available through our catalog. The catalog is database of all the materials held in Wayne State University Libraries, including books, movies, microfilm, and materials in other formats. All of our eBooks can be accessed from home via the catalog. To check for a book/browse for books in the WSU catalog, go to the WSU Libraries website, and click on the link on the upper left that says "Catalog." 

When in the catalog, you can search for books and eBooks by keyword, author, and title. To limit to electronic books, in the dropdown box next to the search box (that says "View Entire Collection"), choose "Electronic Resources, All" from the drop-down options. This will show electronic books and materials from all eBook platforms, without too many irrelevant search results. Once you identify an eBook you'd like to read, click on the yellow box beneath the title that says "Connect to Online Resource" to read the book. 

Interlibrary Loan for Chapters ID'd via Google Books

If an eBook is not available through WSU Library subscriptions, and print books are not yet available via ILL, perhaps a chapter or two of a book is enough for your project, rather than the entire book. Many books on Google Books allow you to read the tables of contents and preview chapters to get a feel for what they are about. If you only need a chapter or two of a book, you can request chapters via interlibrary loan, which can then be scanned and emailed to you by interlibrary loan staff at no cost to you. Please note that interlibrary loan is significantly slower during this time: library staffing and services varies from library to library, and not all requests may be able to be fulfilled. Library workers everywhere appreciate your patience and flexibility!

Project Muse

Many academic presses have opened up the full text of their current and back catalogs on Project Muse. Most of the titles will be available through June 30, 2020. Many of these are titles we would not otherwise have electronic access to through our Before Times library subscriptions, and it's worth checking them out, and searching the Project Muse platform for books and journal articles related to your topic. Note: WSU Libraries will not be including links to these eBooks in the catalog, as we do not put temporary records into the catalog. To discover and access these eBooks, you will need to search Project Muse directly.

JSTOR Expanded Access to Ebooks

Many participating publishers of ebooks on JSTOR's platform have agreed to extend temporary access to their content until August 31, 2020.


HathiTrust is a digital archive of digitized primary source documents (including books) from research libraries around the United States. Wayne State University is a partner institution of HathiTrust. During the pandemic, HathiTrust is making digitized copies of some books available to libraries who own a copy of the print version under its Emergency Temporary Access Service

To access these eBooks, WSU users can go to Then, in the upper right of the screen, click on the yellow button that says "Log In." Choose Wayne State University as the partner institution. Login with your regular WSU credentials at the prompt. 

To quickly locate books in HathiTrust, go to the "Advanced catalog search" screen. Scroll down, and under "Original Format", check "Book." This will keep many extraneous records out of your search results. If you know the title of your book, type the title of the book into the search box.

Many HathiTrust eBooks can also be accessed through the catalog as well: where available, HathiTrust links have been added to catalog records to indicate that an e-version is available. Note that these records will be for print books, but with links added to HathiTrust e-versions. 

Internet Archive

NOTE: The National Emergency Library has been taken offline because of a copyright challenge. However, the Internet Archive is sitll a fantastic source for primary source materials, as well as a large number of ebooks and other historical materials. The Internet Archive has launched a temporary National Emergency Library in response to COVID-19. Over a million books have been digitized and made available by the Internet Archive for temporary lending during library closures related to the virus. Search, browse, and check out eBooks from the National Emergency Library on your research topic.