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Free research resources: Other material: free online access

A guide to free and Open Access resources available to students, alumni and the public.


Not all the information you need may be found in books or journal articles. This page guides you to particular types of material which may be useful, including primary sources, images, maps and data.

If you are looking for information relating to a particular topic, our subject guides will be helpful:

Please note, these guides are intended for our students, so will include links to subscription databases which may not be available to you. Usually, free resources will be found on the 'websites' pages of the guides.

For example, for company information, go to the Business, informatics, management and accounting guide and choose the Company information tab. Most resources have a red icon, but there are a few which are free to use, and there are more in the Websites tab.


Key resources for finding theses include EThOS for British theses and WorldCat for many American theses. Other useful sources are the DART-Europe E-theses Portal and for European coverage, and Trove for Australian theses. 

Primary sources

The Romance of Jean de Saintré - caption: '[Miniature] Jean de Saintré jousts with the Spanish knight, Enguerrant, at a tournament.'There's a huge variety of primary source material freely available on the Web. You may find sources via a simple search engine search, or in a more targeted way by searching a particular museum or archive's website.

The following pages, from the Library's guide to History resources, provides a section on some recommended websites which give free online access to primary sources, plus a section on general History-related websites, free e-books and e-journals, free images and the websites of some relevant institutions, museums, galleries and libraries.



If you need good quality free mapping there are various resources you can use.  You can of course use Google or Apple maps, but be aware they both have terms and conditions attached, and they may not have the detail that you need.  A few alternatives are listed below, but there are many more in the websites section of our Maps guide.

Images & films


There are a number of places to find free images, some of which are available for re-use. Be careful to check what the permissions are for your chosen image and if it requires attribution. The links below are for sites that provide a range of images;


Video & Audio

These sites offer free video and audio content - check the terms and conditions of each carefully to see how you are permitted to use the content. 


Data is information (e.g. facts, observations, measurements) collected together for reference or analysis.  A lot of reliable data is available digitally for free.  Below are some places to look for reliable data from the University of Reading, the UK and Worldwide:

There are also some data repositories available including subject, general purpose and institutional repositories.  These can be found through one of the data repository registries listed below.