Gale has spent years building, developing and refining tools to aid discovery in our primary source archives, making them more than simple text-searchable scans of original documents: our digitized archives act as a resource to help researchers develop innovative and original ideas, and take advantage of efficiencies in their research process that they do not get with other digitized archives.

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With that aim in mind, we create tools that aid “serendipitous discovery”, the moment that a researcher discovers something that they didn’t expect or could have ever guessed would be an avenue of research. 

Who can benefit from these tools?
Our tools help researchers at all levels: finding a new research topic for your first assignment, inspiring ideas for dissertations, or developing chapters for an upcoming monograph. 

How many archives can they be used with?
These tools can be used on one of our archives at a time, or on as many Gale Primary Sources archives as a researcher chooses, so they can be used to suit a research project of any size and scale.


You can transform your search results into an interactive, visual format to discover the context of your search term, and to find additional search terms that are related to your topic.

This tool displays a visual representation of your results by showing the keywords that are found most often. The titles, subjects, and approximately the first 100 words from a subset of your top results are fed into an algorithm and are analyzed for frequently occurring and related terms.

Whether you are researching or teaching, this can help you to quickly generate curated lists of documents on specific areas of your research projects. For teaching, these lists can be integrated into reading lists to help students become familiar with using primary sources.

The tiles view initially displays only top-level terms (those also found in the inner ring of the wheel) and more of them. Words in the largest tiles are more closely related to your search results. When a tile has additional, related terms, clicking on the tile zooms to display those terms. You can also use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out on the tile view.

The wheel view displays terms by the level of frequency. Those terms that occur most frequently appear in the inner ring. Where applicable, topics in the inner ring are connected to a cluster of more specific terms on the outer ring, narrowing your results even further. An arrow appears when a ring has additional terms that you can view. When your results set is small, there may be only one ring present.

If you select a segment on the visualization, it will provide links to the articles in which your search term and your second term appear.

This gives researchers an easy way to create curated lists on research topics, and offer the additional benefit to teachers of gathering direct links to include in reading lists.


This graphing tool shows how frequently your search terms occur over the duration you choose, offering insight into how individuals, events, and ideas interact and develop over time.

The vertical y-axis shows the number of documents or the percentage of documents, based on your selection; the horizontal x-axis shows the year range. You can click a search term in the legend to hide its data line from the graph; click the search term again to re-display it.

You can interact with the graph in a variety of ways:

  • Hover the pointer over a data line to display a tooltip box showing the year, the search term and the number/percentage of results found
  • To zoom in, use the pointer to draw a rectangle on the graph over the years and the number/percentage of documents that you want to magnify
  • Click a data point to get results for the selected year and search term. Your results will be limited to the Content Type selections that you made in your original search parameters
  • Click Print graph on the graph toolbar to print the graph as displayed
  • Click Download graph or data on the graph toolbar, and then select one of the following export options: click or tap Download graph to download the graph image as displayed to a PNG file; or click Download data to download the graph data to a CSV file
  • To revise the graph, change the search term, Year Range, Content Type, or Frequency/Popularity, and then click Graph

A search in the Political Extremism and Radicalism archive--in this example, we track the frequency of the term “civil rights” across the entire date range of the archive:

You can track the comparative frequency of a set of terms across the entire date range of the archive. We can see patterns and discrepancies between the usage of terms over time, which can prompt further research questions:

This tool can also run the same searches to analyze the popularity of terms, which can be run on a single term or multiple terms just like the frequency option: