Don't get lost in the Web Library. Heed the words of advice below:
There are lots of good resources for history of science on the World Wide Web. The following short list of links is intended to help you start finding them.
Be warned that not all the information available on the web is reliable or useful. Electronic resources, like printed ones, call for critical judgment to use them properly.
Frequently, the best use of the web is to find out about printed sources that can be helpful. There are still far more resources for historians in print than on electronic databases. So, don't imagine that using the web can spare you the necessity of using the library!
Tutorial for History and
Philosophy of Science
A free teach-yourself tutorial and guide. Work through this to learn how to find and use Internet resources for research on history and philosophy of science.
Gateways to Research Sources:
Technology Resources on the Internet
By Marianne Stowell Bracke and Paul J. Bracke. Two Texas librarians categorize and review useful Internet sites in the history of science and technology. The reviews give valuable descriptions of what you will find at each site.
and Technology Virtual Center
This site has hundreds of links, arranged under scientific disciplines. You can also search by names of individuals, topics, places, etc.
to Philosophy on the Internet
Everything to do with philosophy or philosophers. Sadly, no longer updated, but this is a huge list of resources. There is also a search engine here with which you can search philosophy sites all over the net.
History of Science Sourcebook
Hundreds of primary source documents from all periods of the history of science. Texts by Copernicus, Newton, Darwin, Freud, and just about everyone else. Search them electronically for what you are looking for.
Humbul Humanities Hub/HPS
Sites in history and philosophy of science, categorized by the Humbul Humanities Hub at the University of Oxford. Also includes a search feature.
A gateway to internet resources on the history of medicine, hosted by the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, in London. Organized into categories and searchable.
Robert Hatch's History of Science Links
University of Florida professor Robert A. Hatch presents a comprehensive list of links to history of science sites, categorized under twelve headings.
Resources: Science and Mathematics
This is part of a large collection of links to eighteenth-century materials. It is strong on mathematics, for some reason, but also covers other sciences in the period.
Museums and Archives:
Two are particularly outstanding sources of images, texts, and links:
Oxford Museum for History of Science Tour present and past exhibits in the museum, search the collections database, or find an image in the image library.
e Museo di Storia della Scienza di Firenze The Florence Museum for
History of Science allows you to take a virtual tour of the exhibits and consult
an extensive list of textual materials and images. Also links to other
Other Sources of Images:
History of Medicine Division
Images from the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine, Washington, DC.
Science and Society Picture
Images from the collection of the Science Museum, London.
Another large source of images on the history of medicine, from the Wellcome Library, London.
Resources on Specific Individuals and Topics (Early-Modern Science):
Hundreds of alchemical texts and images from all periods of the history of alchemy. Also, secondary sources on the history of alchemy in many world cultures.
Information about this essential instrument of early astronomy, with images, and instructions on how to order an astrolabe or make your own.
Homepage of the Robert Boyle Project, based at Birkbeck College London. This offers access to a large body of unpublished manuscripts by Boyle, along with bulletins on current historical research.
The Chymistry of
Gateway to the project to publish Newton's writings on alchemy ("chymistry" in 17th-century terminology). Includes access to online editions of some of Newton's chemical manuscripts and notebooks.
Primary sources on early-modern magic are included in this collection of texts. Includes works by Agrippa, Kircher, Dee, and Bruno. A separate site is devoted to Giambattista della Porta, including the English translation of his Natural Magick. See also the classic work on witchcraft by Kramer and Sprenger, Malleus Maleficarum, which has a site of its own.
Information from a large-scale research project on the Italian astronomer and mathematician. Also includes access to the Catalog of the Scientific Community of the 16th and 17th Centuries, compiled by the late Richard S. Westfall. This has basic information about lives, achievements, and patronage, and is searchable under several categories.
Gateway to an extensive site on the early centuries of Muslim civilization and its contributions to modern culture. Includes a lot of information on Islamic contributions to science, mathematics, medicine, and technology.
Gateway to the large project to make available all of Newton's published and unpublished writings. You can view Newton's manuscripts on science and theology, along with secondary works on Newton by modern scholars.
Based in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University, this site provides a good deal of basic information and images concerning astronomy in the period from ancient times to the seventeenth century. With suggestions for further reading.
Resources on Specific Individuals and Topics (Modern Science):
From the State Library of New South Wales, Australia. An extensive collection of papers from this eighteenth-century scientific explorer of the Pacific and other individuals associated with him.
Gateway to the forthcoming site for Darwin's works. This will eventually include all of Darwin's published writings and other material associated with him. (While this site is under construction, John Van Wyhe's pilot site The Works of Charles Darwin, remains useful.)
Darwin Correspondence Project
Information about the project to publish all of Darwin's correspondence, and access to some of the letters available online.
An extensive site with works by and about the Victorian meteorologist, psychologist, and founder of the eugenics movement.
History of Phrenology
A comprehensive site on phrenology in the nineteenth century, with primary and secondary sources, images, etc. (Created by John Van Wyhe.)
Human Nature Review
Founded by Robert M. Young, this site contains hundreds of reviews and scholarly studies on the human sciences, including a lot of historical material on Darwin, Freud, and other pioneers of the scientific study of human nature.
Library of Early Journals
A growing digital library of 18th and 19th century periodicals, based at the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Includes portions of the runs of the Philosophical Transactions, Gentleman's Magazine, Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, and others.
Complete lists of Nobel Prize winners in every category, details about the prizes, and links to other sites with further information about the winners.
A site devoted to the connections between literature and natural history in the century before Darwin's Origin of Species (1859). Useful information on a large number of scientific and literary figures of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with links to other resources.
A very good resource for information on the pioneer of modern computers. Maintained by Andrew Hodges, author of the excellent biography, Alan Turing: The Enigma.
Alfred Russel Wallace page
An extensive site devoted to the works of the co-discoverer of evolution through natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace. You can read Wallace's voluminous writings about natural history, anthropology, politics, and spiritualism. Also, read a biography of him by the site creator, Charles H. Smith of Western Kentucky University.
in Science 4000Years
of Women in Science
Two useful starting points for research on women in science.
Resources on Historiography:
Library of Historiography
Links to hundreds of classic works of history from the early modern and modern eras. Here, you can read Hume, Diderot, Montesquieu, Gibbon, et al., and search their works for the passages you are looking for. (Don't be put off by the home page in Italian. Works originally written in English are presented in that language.)
This is the gateway to a large project, with many ancient texts online. Included are some of the ancient historians and philosophers, whose texts can be searched. There are also some secondary sources, for example on Thucydides.
CSICOP Creation Watch
National Center for Science Education
NCSE Creationism and Intelligent Design
Three useful sites for keeping up with the controversy over evolution teaching, creationism, and intelligent design. They index news stories about legal cases and political debates and provide access to relevant documents.
Dictionary of the
History of Ideas
A classic reference work on intellectual history, now out of print, is available online.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
A very comprehensive philosophical encyclopedia, with articles written by leading scholars.
Internet Sacred Text Archive
A huge site with primary texts from all the world's major religious traditions, and selected scholarly writings about religion. (Also includes some secular texts on philosophy and the sciences.)
The Gnostic Society Library
Excellent collection of writings from Late Antiquity that did not make it into the Christian scriptural canon. With interpretive essays and suggestions for further reading.
Miniature Library of Philosophy
A large collection of philosophical texts from the website "marxists.org". (Includes many writings by twentieth-century philosophers and scientists.)
A daily update on current issues in science and technology. Includes lots on social issues and also some topics in history of science and cultural studies of science.
M. Young Online Archive
A remarkably comprehensive archive of essays, reviews, and books by the prolific and provocative Bob Young. Marxism, Darwinism, and Freudian psychoanalysis are the main preoccupations, but there are also writings on Descartes and Newton.
John Paul II on Faith and Science
For a contrast to Bob Young, read the writings of pope John Paul II on topics like Galileo, evolution, and modern cosmology. The online version of The Catholic Encyclopedia is also useful for issues or personalities concerning science and religion.
It has its faults, I know, but Wikipedia is quickly becoming the obligatory first stop for finding basic facts about a lot of things. The most comprehensive encyclopedia available online. It should be used critically (of course) but can only get better as more people contribute to it.
Last update: 21 April 2006.
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