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Cycle history research online: Books

Lists some of the best bets for researching cycle history in digital libraries, archives and more.

HathiTrust Digital Library

HathiTrust is a free online digital library containing over 17 million items.  About 40% of the content (over 7 million items) are in the public domain and fully available online.  The remaining items have an active copyright but the text may be searched.  

The HathiTrust digital library is the product of collective effort by many academic, public and research libraries as well as museums (see list).

Internet Archive

The Internet Archive has 35 million books and texts uploaded by libraries, archives, government entities and more.

In the left bar, enter search terms and select "Text contains" in order to search full text for words and phrases.  (A search in the "Metadata" option will only look for your search terms in the titles and subject headings).

  • Use facets on the left side of the page to narrow and focus the results
  • Use the "Sort by" option (near the top) to arrange results by date published, if desired
  • Or, try the Advanced Search which regrettably lacks a full text search field.

Google Books Advanced Search

Google Books Advanced Search is definitely the best for "needle in a haystack" searches but not so great for reading online. Tip: try Google Books Advanced Search for discovery and then switch to HathiTrust for reading online.  Books often show up in both databases.

PROS: On the results list, Google will rank highest those which have the search terms close together (for example, within the same sentence or paragraph, or on the same page)

CONS: The results lead to pages in books or periodicals, but it is not easy to see the titles or dates of the publications.

More ways to discover free books online

Examples of historic cycling books available online

Internet Archive:



Internet Archive:

Google Books:

More bicycle travelogues, some of which are online...


How to find free case law online
This guide from the Library of Congress provides a good basic overview for free resources to search for historical cases and legal opinions.


Resources that mix free online and not free online

  • Digital Book Index
    Digital Book Index provides links to full-text digital books from more than 1800 commercial and non-commercial publishers, universities, and various private sites. Most are available free.
  • Google Scholar is another way to discover published works, whether they are books, dissertations or articles in magazines and journals.  Although Google Scholar will not necessarily provide links to full text but you can use the information it does provide to find publications in HathiTrust. Hint: If you use Google Scholar from inside a library, it will provide links to content that the library subscribes to.