Digital Collections


February 22, 2011

MDL Recognized in Rochester Post Bulletin

Rochester Post Bulletin's Greg Sellnow discusses the importance of preservation and the Minnesota Digital Library - read for yourself:

I'm Just Sayin': Letters recall life during Civil War - by Greg Sellnow

May 14, 2009

Historical Newspapers from the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities have a joint venture that may be of interest to researchers and history enthusiasts. Chronicling America provides information on newspapers published since 1690 from across the U.S.

Use the Newspaper Directory to locate titles by location, date, or even ethnic or labor group focus. Once you've found one or more newspapers of interest, the site can help connect you with libraries in your area that own them. A search for Minnesota newspapers yielded some 3,000 title entries (though some entries were duplicates).

The site also includes digitized images of a set of newspapers, including the St. Paul Daily Globe from the late 1800s. Search for these on the Search Newspapers page.

This topic begs mention of several other resources. WorldCat, for instance, can help you locate and request newspapers via interlibrary loan. WorldCat is one of the ELM databases. Another excellent source is Minnesota Reflections. This site from the MN Digital Library provides online access to historical primary source materials including plat maps, diaries, letters, and photos.

April 20, 2009

E-Books Will Change the Way We Read - WSJ Article

There was a great article in the Sunday Wall Street Journal: How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write.

E-Books is not a languishing industry. On the contrary, they are just starting to pick up steam. For many years I kept hearing about how e-books were not going anywhere and were going to die out before their benefits were ever realized. Not so. There are two great revolations I have started to hear more about in the area of e-books that give great hope to the future of e-books. One is the resourcefulness of metadata - the searchability of the content of books. The other, is the socialability of e-books.

With more books being digitized and becoming more openly and readily available the content within them is also opening up. The article, however, focuses more on the socialability aspect of e-books. No more are books a solitary environment. In many ways, we can now share, discuss, discover, purchase, and borrow e-books in an instant where discussion of books, their content, intent, ideas, and recommendations from friends may have taken a longer process. At many times, because dependent on so many vary needs, those social links were often times broken as well.

There is a huge transformation taking place with the arrival of digitized books that we had never seen before. People and books were once separate items, however, more we will start seeing people carrying their own library in their smart phones, they will share what they have, they will discuss what they have, they will purchase new books wherever they are. Perhaps they don't want to purchase a full book, maybe just a chapter. People will now be able to dig their hands in the book and pull out pieces they like, change them around, mix them up, add them with other content from other e-books.

It's very exciting to see e-books start to take off and seeing the future of possibilities for them. This is just the beginning. As more and more books become available online, there will certainly be more ways of viewing and accessing them as well as the new ideas that will come from this growth.

February 23, 2009

New Online Art Catalog

NYARC, New York Art Resources Consortium, have created Arcade, Arcade unites the collections of the Frick Art Reference Library and the libraries of the Brooklyn Museum and The Museum of Modern Art.

From NYPress:

The catalog includes a wide range of content, ranging from art and cultural history and spanning the spectrum from ancient Egypt to contemporary art. Searchable mediums include exhibition and art collection catalogs, monographs, periodicals, rare books, photograph collections, artist and vertical files, auction sale catalogs, artists' books, archival materials, digital resources and specialized databases.

Related content
William F. Buckley, Jr. on Hillary, McCarthy & God (With Guest Interviewer Peggy Noonan)Staying AliveImperfect StrangersStrapped Scribes' SummitPlaying With DesireOPANA: A BRIEF HISTORYRelated to:
nypressnew yorkarcadeartfrickbrooklyn museummoma"Arcade facilitates discovery of our collections in new ways and allows collective development of ever more useful access and services," notes Anne L. Poulet, Director of The Frick Collection. This new catalog search capability is expected to facilitate more research through the museums.

February 22, 2009

Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia

From Joyce Antler, Jewish Women's Archive Advisory Committee Chair

On March 1, 2009, the Jewish Women's Archive will launch the free, online version of Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia, edited by Professors Paula Hyman of Yale University and Dalia Ofer of Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Previously available only on CD-ROM, the Encyclopedia is the first comprehensive source on the history of Jewish women and includes more than 1,700 biographies, 300 thematic essays, and 1,400 photographs and illustrations. The Encyclopedia nearly doubles the content available on and gives Internet users all over the world free and easy access to a wealth of information.

To keep the Encyclopedia current, we hope to add new entries from time to time and to update published pieces as necessary.

February 5, 2009

PennSound - Poetry You Can Download

While researching for a poem by Elizabeth Alexander, I learned of a terrific web resource created by collaborative entities at the University of Pennsylvania.

"PennSound (, launched January 1, 2005, is a Web-based archive for noncommercial distribution of the largest collection of poetry sound files on the Internet. PennSound offers a large variety of digital recordings of poems..." (

PennSound is sponsored by Penn's Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing and co-directed by Al Filreis, English professor and director of Penn's Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing, and Charles Bernstein, Penn English professor.

"The poetry sound files are retrievable both from a library catalog by authors' names and via Web search engines. PennSound combines aspects of a library archive and a Web music-download site. Basic bibliographic information is incorporated in each file so that a user downloads not only the sound but also key facts about the recording, including author, title, place and date of the recording, series, as well as copyright information." (

Give it a spin!

December 15, 2008

New Discoverability Tools Minnesota Historical Aerial Photographs Online (MHAPO) and MapHappy

Kristi Jensen, Borchert Map Library - University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

University Libraries' Borchert Map Library is preparing to release a new online tool, MHAPO ( ), a Google Map interface providing access to thousands of scanned copies of print Minnesota air photos found in our collection. The air photos cover the Twin Cities metro area and are from the late the 1930s through the 1970s. They hope to go live with MHAPO before the beginning of the Spring semester.

Although still in development, MapHappy ( ) is also available for review and feedback. MapHappy, a new way to search for maps at the library, is a Google Maps mashup that provides users with visual information about the location and coverage of print and electronic maps while searching University Libraries collection. A browse feature also allows users to find maps that cover a particular geographic area rather than searching with key terms. All 30,000 maps held in the Twin Cities libraries are discoverable in MapHappy.

These resources are still in beta and will be released sometime in January, 2009.

October 3, 2008 Links to Google Books

Thanks to new Application Programming Interfaces (API) released by Google on September 22, users now have an easy, seamless way to view digitized books available in the Google Book Search collection, right on the Web site. A Google Preview Button will appear in the record display when the text of a work—either excerpts for in-copyright works or full text for public domain materials—is available online. Visitors can click on the button to access the content within via an embedded Google viewport.

“This is a great enhancement to the discovery process on,” says Bill Carney, Content Manager, OCLC. “The Google Book Search APIs represent an important advance in accessing the content scanned on behalf of libraries participating in the Google Book Search Library Project. Working together enables us to increase the presence of these libraries and their collections on the Web.”

September 2, 2008

Happy Birthday My Health Minnesota

My Health Minnesota -> Go Local at:, a free database of health services throughout Minnesota, recently celebrated its first birthday!  The project is sponsored by the University of Minnesota Health Sciences Libraries, the Mayo Clinic Libraries, and the MINITEX Library and Information Network, in collaboration with the National Library of Medicine.  This project joined others across the country to link the trusted health information from MedlinePlus ( with information about local health services.  People can use Go Local to find hospitals, nursing homes, physicians, support groups, pharmacists, libraries, rehabilitation programs, and other health services in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, plus reliable health information about a multitude of diseases and conditions.  My Health Minnesota -> Go Local continues to grow daily as we add resources throughout the state.

Continue reading "Happy Birthday My Health Minnesota" »

January 24, 2008

New Feature on Minnesota Reflections!

The Minnesota Digital Library is pleased to announce that people may now comment on the images in our “Minnesota Reflections” collection. The MDL designed a wiki site that allows us to provide this resource. Look at a photo, map or document, click on the “comment on this item” and leave your comments.

We are looking for public support in providing information on the items in our collection and we would like people to ask questions and share stories.

Here’s what you need to do:

• Visit Minnesota Reflections ( )

• Search for items you want to view.

• When you are looking at an individual photo, document or map, you will see a button in the blue menu bar above the image. The button is red with yellow type.

• Click on that button and you will go to a wiki page. From there, comment as you like on that particular object.

No registration is required. We do ask people to focus their comments on the item in the collection.

The Minnesota Digital Library will monitor comments. This is still a prototype service. We are still designing it and answering questions about how to share the information people provide.

If you have general comments, suggestions or insights to offer regarding the Social Side of Reflections, please send them to Marian Rengel, MDL outreach coordinator (

Thanks for helping the MDL with the project and have fun.

Visit the Minnesota Digital Library’s collection site at and our home at

January 18, 2008

Library of Congress and Flickr

In case you haven't heard, the Library of Congress is undertaking a new pilot project with Flickr. If all goes according to plan, the project will help address at least two major challenges: how to ensure better and better access to LOC collections, and how to ensure that they have the best possible information about those collections for the benefit of researchers and posterity. The LOC is looking to enhance their metadata. The project is beginning modestly, out of some 14 million prints, photographs and other visual materials at the Library of Congress, more than 3,000 photos from two of their most popular collections are being made available on their new Flickr page, to include only images for which no copyright restrictions are known to exist.

June 6, 2007

U of M Libraries Join Google Digitization Project

The University of Minnestoa Libraries along with the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), which includes the “Big 10” institutions plus the University of Chicago, have mad an agreement with Google to digitize up to 10 million volumes from the CIC collections, with particular focus on “collections of distinction.” Continuously updated information will be available through CIC's website.

University Libraries will be joining other universities such as Harvard, Oxford, Michigan, California, and Texas. Similar to those agreements, the CIC plan will address volumes in the general collections, but the “collections of distinction” is a new twist. These are focused areas of historic strength in each CIC library which will be digitized in their entirety. Further, the CIC agreement represents significant collective action in coordinating large-scale digitization. University Libraries hope to include up to one million volumes from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities holdings (archives and special collections are not included).

The project has the enthusiastic support of the provost and president. They recognize the incredible opportunity this presents and the public benefit that will come from access to the collections CIC has developed over many institutional lifetimes.

May 16, 2007



From Calisphere:

"Calisphere is the University of California's free public gateway to a world of primary sources. More than 150,000 digitized items -- including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts -- reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history. Calisphere's content has been selected from the libraries and museums of the UC campuses, and from a variety of cultural heritage organizations.

Calisphere is a public service project of the California Digital Library (CDL). Through the use of technology and innovation, the CDL supports the assembly and creative use of scholarship for the UC libraries and the communities they serve. Learn more about the CDL."

November 16, 2006

The "Second Wave" and Beyond: Primary Sources of the Women's Movement, 1960-Present

The "Second Wave" and Beyond scholarly community, launced in April 2006, is an innovative form of electronic communication and research that brings together feminist thinkers, both scholars and activists, to create a stimulating and supportive environment in which to pose and analyze compelling questions about feminist activism and theories, define new directions for historical research on this period, and provide a new venue for publishing traditional articles but also for writing and recording this history in ways made possible by the medium of online publication.

More specifically, look here to find dicussions, chronologies, oral histories and memoirs, images, reviews, bibliographies, resource links, teaching and research resources, and more.

September 5, 2006

IMAGES Repository

The University of Minnesota Libraries' IMAGES Repository is an online image database highlighting collections from around the University of Minnesota. The digital collections included in this database are the following:

  • African-American Literature Cover Art
  • Ames Library of South Asia
  • Ames Library Stereoscopic Images
  • Art History Department Slides
  • Bell Museum Images
  • Burroughs Corporation Image Database
  • Immigration History Research Center
  • Kautz Family YMCA Archives
  • Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station
  • Northwest Architectural Archives - American Terra Cotta Company Photographs, Minneapolis Architecture & Architects, 1848-1908, William Gray Purcell Job Files
  • Scenery Collections Database
  • Social Hygiene Posters
  • United States Government Publications
  • University of Minnesota Archives
  • University of Minnesota Extension Service
  • World War I & II Posters

    Also, look for links to additional digital collections on the IMAGES home page.

  • August 31, 2006

    "More, Better, Faster, Cheaper: The Economics of Descriptive Practice

    On August 7th and 8th, RLG Programs held the Forum: "More, Better, Faster,
    Cheaper: The Economics of Descriptive Practice" at the Folger Shakespeare
    Library in Washington DC. Sixteen invited speakers elaborated on how they
    manage to do more with less at their respective institutions ranging from
    libraries and archives to museums for an audience of over 125 attendees in the
    beautiful Folger Elizabethan Theatre. The podcasts (downloadable mp3
    files) of the forum are now available at, alongside powerpoint
    presentations, handouts and speaker notes.

    July 21, 2006

    Evans Early American Imprint Collection - Text Creation Partnership

    About Evans-TCP
    "The University of Michigan, NewsBank/Readex Co., and the American Antiquarian Society are cooperating in a Text Creation Partnership to create 6,000 accurately keyed and fully searchable SGML/XML text editions from among the 40,000 titles available in the Evans Early American Imprints Collection. Evans is the most significant collection of titles relating to the history of seventeenth and eighteenth century America, and the Text creation partnership seeks to create enduring digital text editions of the most frequently studied works. NewsBank/Readex is producing digital page images and searchable OCR (Optical Character Recognition) for the overall collection. The standards-based editions created and owned by Text Creation Partnership will link directly to the corresponding Newsbank/Readex page images and will provide a research and instructional tool of enduring scholarly and instructional value."

    Try the Evans-TCP database!


    This search engine will lead you to digital resources previously "hidden" to users behind web scripts.

    Most search engines like Google won't pick up these digital resources. Robots used by these search engines don't dive "deep" enough to retrieve this information. Therefore, these digital resources are often accessible only to those who know where to look for digital repositories and developing digital collections.

    OAIster is a project of the University of Michigan Digital Library Production Service. Use it to search nearly 700 institutions including a total of 8,754,367 records. These records are a part of previously difficult-to-access, academically-oriented digital resources. This service was built through a collaboration with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and encompasses a broad collection of resources with no subject limitation.

    Minnesota Digital Library (MDL)

    MDL is a statewide collaborative effort between libraries, archives, historical societies, and museums to create a digital collection unique to the state of Minnesota and its residents.

    Try their searchable database, Minnesota Reflections, to access more than 6,000 images of Minnesota history.

    Also, check out MDL's Resources for Educators. These are free resources designed to illustrate and explain how digital resources can be integrated into the classroom curriculum.