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Historical primary sources online: Numerical data sources

Multipart guide to VT Libraries' many digital archives, whether based on types of sources or thematic collections.

What's on this page

This part of the guide identifies key collections of data that can be exported and analyzed in analytical software. In general, you can select microdata based on narrative descriptions and data documentation. See the aggregate data tab for data in tables, which often can be exported and combined for analysis.

Resources on this page are grouped under these headings: Overview of issues in locating data; Major data repositories; VT Library data services; International demographic/economic data collections, US-centric data repositories; Governance data collections; International electoral data portals, US social & opinion data collections; International social survey archives; Miscellaneous data collections, and guidance on citing data you use.

Data can be hard to find and to work with Statista is a large, reasonably easy to use tool for finding statistics from around the word.  Sage Sage Data [formerly called Data Planet] is even more comprehensive, but it helps to be familiar with the ways statistical agencies organize and describe their data if you want to use it effectively.

The VT library has experts to help you. The VT libraries has a team of informatics consultants to help you with methodology, interpretation, visualization, and management/curation of your research data.  Some tabs in this guide are maintained by members of the library's data service group.

Demographic and economic datasets: international

Electoral data

Cite the data you use

Temporary, trial access only -- use while you can

The University Libraries at Virginia Tech regularly secure short-term, trial access to online resources in order to gauge their appropriateness to our university's teaching and research missions. These trials run in October, February, and sometimes April.  Most trials run 30 days.

This box highlights some of these opportunities. All active trials are listed in a sidebar in the main Databases A-Z directory and as a tab atop this libguide. 

Each entry includes a link to a user survey. I and other subject librarians invite you to email us your detailed assessments of resources. Responses from the Virginia Tech community are vital to the library's deliberations about whether and when to acquire or enhance databases and the like.

As appropriate I will list all currently active trials and user survey links in a resource trials tab in this and my other libguides.  Entries for trials I may include in the body of my libguides will go away when the trial period ends.

Data portals and repositories around the world

If you want to start by searching for variables:

If you prefer to start by browsing by topic or place:

US (and mostly US) data collections

US social/opinion surveys

College Librarian for Social Sciences & History

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Bruce Pencek
Newman Library (MC 0434)
Office #3050
560 Drillfield Dr
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Email is the best way to contact me with questions or appointment requests.

Office hours (walk-in and/or Zoom): T 1-3:00 pm, W-Th 2-4:00 pm (Eastern time), and by appointment.
(540) 231-2140

Data support in VT Libraries

Ask a Librarian

Data about governance

Miscellaneous data collections

International social survey datasets