David Gentilcore is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Leicester. He published Food and Health in Early Modern Europe: Diet, Medicine and Society, 1450-1800 in 2015. To read...
Some months have passed since the starting of this PhD and I would like to share with you a list of very useful and effective web sites I bumped into, sometimes by accident (if searching for something you wish to find is definable as an “accident”?), sometimes by kind suggestion. The list is short but if you aim to complete a PhD in history, especially on early modern history, and you are using – or supposed to use – Spanish or Portuguese sources, this list can make the difference!
So, the first web site that by all means you all should be aware of is the official web site of the Spanish Archives. You can reach this web site via the following link: http://pares.mcu.es/.
Unfortunately the web site is not provided with an English version but if you have a go within the “busqueda sencilla” – that means “basic search” – you should be able to understand and hopefully find what you are looking for.
Also, if you do not have time to go to Spain – you should really there go there in any case, Spain is beautiful in so many respects – and you wish to understand how the Spanish archives are grouped and how they work, I suggest you have a look at this page http://cvc.cervantes.es/obref/arnac/ and then click to the link that will appear. Anyway, there are plenty of illustrative pdfs available on the net to understand the structure and regulations of the Spanish archives.
Besides, speaking of archives and having in mind early modern documents, there are two great on-line sources I warmly suggest to you. The first http://spanishpaleographytool.org/ is a terrific instrument for practise early modern Spanish handwritings – few times I have seen something so well arranged and effective and (apart from the documents themselves) it is all in English!
The second website I recommend is actually the personal page of Dr. Leonor Zozaya who dedicates a section on the free on-line sources you can have a look at to improve your archival skills tout court. This is the link: https://leonorzozaya.wordpress.com/1403-2/.
Leaving this digression on Archival and Related Sciences behind, some other useful websites to search primary texts are respectively http://www.bieses.net/ and http://www.cetaps.com/. The first one is basically the Iberian equivalent of the “Perdita” database and it offers a list of women’s biographies and texts, for both Spain and Portugal (although it does not take into account women from the colonies). It has the great advantage to be set in English also. As the one just mentioned, also the second offers primary sources but, in this specific case, the sources are written by English travellers in Portugal; you can search within the section “Viajantes Anglófonos em Portugal – Séculos XVIII e XIX” to find traces of English narratives about Portugal in the past!
Finally, for secondary sources, do not forget about Dialnet ! Dialnet is not only a great searching engine within works of Spanish academics, it is also an “Open Access” portal – in other words, Dialnet contains plenty of full texts that you can read, share and download once you register… And if for any reason the text you are desperately looking for is not available on-line… well, at least you know where to find the hard copy! Have a look – http://dialnet.unirioja.es/
Hope to be of some help,