Prior to the advent and widespread adoption of digitization, you’d have to physically visit a library or archives in order to review a specific document. If your library didn’t have what you wanted, you’d need to travel to another library, request materials via interlibrary loan, or call to request a photocopy. Of course, these steps all assume that you knew what you were looking for, that you’d have the resources to travel, or that the holding institution would part with (or make a surrogate of) the materials.

Enter the digital age. You can now access millions of pages’ worth of primary-source documents—from newspapers and magazines, to ephemera and entire books—spanning centuries and continents, right from your own library, home, or office—just about anywhere you have access to a computer.

But have you ever wondered how those rare — and often fragile — documents become accessible, searchable online resources? Watch a video that takes you “behind the screens” with Gale and learn how source materials are transformed into data that can be searched, retrieved, and used for research, class activities, or simple personal interest.