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Victorian Britain

BRANCH is an online site that offers an extensive range of research essays on Britain's 'long' nineteenth century (1775-1925).  
Subjects include culture, empire, human identity, politics, science & technology, and rebellion & revolution.
Choose the 'Topic Cluster' tab to view the essays, which are scholarly and peer-reviewed. This is a fine, if limited site to check for resources.
File:The Lowest Circle of a Modern Inferno - JM Staniforth.png
JM Staniforth's 1899 cartoon comment on the popularity of bicycles in Britain, depicted inhabiting the lowest circle of a modern-day Dante's hell.
Wikimedia image. Public Domain

Online Secondary and Tertiary Resources

World History Encyclopedia - An excellent introduction to ancient civilizations.

Educational and Academic Search Engines

Retreat from Dannevirke: Battle of Sankelmark, February 1864
Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain
Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu - when it comes to searching the internet we default to these heavy-weight, global search engines. They do help us find some of the things we want, but they tend to be blunt instruments when it comes to pinpointing academic resources.
Take a break from the general, commercial search engines and try the ones in the list below. They have been mediated (to some degree) to exclude non-educational sources. Explore a couple of them - I think you'll see they are more nimble, they help target your search, and they give you an improved internet experience.
Keep in mind that these are multidisciplinary sites, not limited only to history.
And think of them as starting points - when the academic 'heavy lifting' begins you will need to go to the "Find Books" and "Find Articles" tabs in this guide.
A scholarly index of sites selected by teachers and librarians. From the homepage you can select and limit your search to other multidisciplinary web portals.
A multidisciplinary directory of resources. Scroll through the alphabetical list of topics, or use the search box using names or keywords.
File:Palace at Gondar (1884) - TIMEA.jpg
Palace at Gondar, Ethiopia 1884   
Drawing by WW Loring
Wikimedia Commons. No changes. CC License
BASE (Bielefeld Academic Search Engine) 
A very useful webpage of multidisciplinary, academic resources from the Bielefeld University Library (Germany). About 75% of the results are free in full-text.  Make use of the Advanced Search to refine and limit your results to topics in history.
CORE (COnnecting REpositories)
CORE’s aim is to provide free access to scholarly publications (multi-disciplinary, though its strength is science). It is a portal site that aggregates useful academic content from many sources; international in scope and reach.
Use subject-specific language in the data entry search bar; limit your results using the sidebar options. Or select the “advanced” page link to limit and refine your search.
DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals)
DOAJ is a database of full-text, scholarly journals, and maintains high editorial standards to ensure academic quality. It is multi-disciplinary so use technical, subject-specific vocabulary in searching.
The site is the collaborative effort of academic publishers, academies, and agencies.
Feels just like Google Scholar in operation, but uses a customized algorithm to find only free (open access) articles, theses, patents, & posters. Strong in the physical & life sciences, but also very useful for social sciences and humanities.
A repository of academic journals, reports, and trade magazines. Thousands of free full-text journal articles across many disciplines. Searchable by keyword, author, title, and topic. A commercial site, and not very comprehensive in some areas. Potentially useful, but viewer astuteness is advised.
From the homepage choose “Humanities” > “History”. 
File:General view of Buenos Ayres from the Plaza de Toros - Emeric Essex Vidal - Picturesque illustrations of Buenos Ayres and Monte Video (1820).jpg
A View of Buenos Aires, 1820
Artist: Emeric Essex Vidal
Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain

Frontier Life: Borderlands, Settlement & Colonial Encounters

This digital collection of primary source documents helps us to understand existence on the edges of the anglophone world from 1650-1920. Discover the various European and colonial frontier regions of North America, Africa and Australasia through documents that reveal the lives of settlers and indigenous peoples in these areas.

GS accesses open-access (free) academic materials; but since it also links to subscription sites some results might offer only an abstract. The quality of GS’s resources has been questioned, but it does turn up some useful resources.
An academic webpage that accesses sites chosen by educators.
Created by educators as a “search engine for...students” this useful site contains a wealth of data across many disciplines.
iSeek is not an exclusively academic search engine, but it has an effective way of dealing with natural language searching that produces decently relevant results.
A multidisciplinary site where you can “search millions of academic articles, chapters, and theses".
Japan's Shogun Ashikaga Takauji, 14th century
Artist: Nihon no Eiyu Hyaku-nin
Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain
OpenDOAR (Directory of Open Access Repositories)
OpenDOAR’s main benefit is that it provides access to numerous good quality, full-text academic resource collections around the world. OpenDOAR requires that its partners offer open-access (free) academic resources.
Search OpenDOAR’s resources using the Google Custom Search:
This is a multi-disciplinary site so use precise technical vocabulary to avoid irrelevant results.
SSOAR (Social Science Open Access Repository)
Contains resources from the social sciences as well as the humanities and interdisciplinary studies.
Use the “Advanced Search” to search topics. Or use “Browse and Search” > “History” then limit the results by keyword, or the sidebar limiters.
Keep in mind that since it is German initiative there is a lot of non-English language material.
SSRN (Social Science Research Network)
SSRN is a database containing about half a million free full-text academic papers across several disciplines (there are also some ‘pay-for’ articles). Keep in mind that it is a “social science” database, so its main aim and focus is not the subject of history. Since it is multi-disciplinary use technical, subject-specific language to focus your search.
File:NikI LG Sap-bat.jpg
Tsar Nicholas I of Russia inspecting the Sapyor Battalion, 1825
Artist: VN Masutov
Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain
With the huge search engines academic information is often “lost in a muddle of sponsored links”, so Refseek aims to make scholarly resources accessible and visible.
An educational engine that searches only 35,000 web sites approved by its administrators.
VirtualLRC (Learning Resources Center)
A multidisciplinary site that indexes academic webpages selected by teachers and librarians.