Large Digital Collections

These selections are gathered mainly from U.S. university resources, but other projects – including government and overseas efforts – are included.


Alexandria Digital Library: ADL is a distributed digital library with collections of georeferenced materials such as maps, aerial photographs and remote sensing (satellite) data. The site is supported by University of California, Santa Barbara.

The Ryhiner Map Collection: This collection consists of more than 16,000 maps, charts, plans and views from the 16th to the 18th century, covering the whole globe. Together with the 20,000 manuscript maps of the State Archives, the Canton of Berne owns not only a local, but a worldwide geographical memory.


National Library of Medicine: NLM, which is located on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, is the world’s largest medical library. The Library collects materials and provides information and research services in all areas of biomedicine and health care.


American Museum of Natural History: The digital library project on this site was launched in 1999 to develop an integrated database of library resources and natural history collections. The first major project of the Digital Library focuses on the Museum’s Congo Expedition, 1909-1915.

Ethnomathematics Digital Library: The Ethnomathematics Digital Library (EDL) is a resource network and interactive learning community for ethnomathematics, with emphasis on the indigenous mathematics of the Pacific region. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is extensively involved in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology education (SMETE), and has funded the EDL as a collections project of the National SMETE Digital Library (NSDL).

Ewell Sale Stewart Library: Digital collections from this library focus on natural sciences, including “Fairy Tale World of Henry McCook: Illustrations of Anthropomorphic Arthropods in the 19th Century,” which will be added on an ongoing basis. This site is part of the Academy of Natural Sciences, located in Philadelphia.

Exploratorium Digital Library: The different collections in this K-12 library include digital media and digitized museum materials related to interactive exhibits and scientific phenomena, including images, educational activities in PDF and html formats, QuickTime movies, streaming media, and audio files.

National Science Digital Library: NSDL is the Nation’s online library for education and research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Access to most of the resources discovered through NSDL is free; however, some content providers may require a login, or a nominal fee or subscription to retrieve their specific resources.

National Sea Grant Library: NSGL is the official NOAA Sea Grant archive and home to a comprehensive collection of Sea Grant–funded documents from over 30 programs and projects across the U.S. Topics include oceanography, marine education, aquaculture, fisheries, aquatic nuisance species, coastal hazards, seafood safety, limnology, coastal zone management, marine recreation, and law.

Scitable - Scitable is a free science library and personal learning tool brought to you by Nature Publishing Group, the world's leading publisher of science. Scitable currently concentrates on genetics and cell biology, which include the topics of evolution, gene expression, and the rich complexity of cellular processes shared by living organisms. Scitable also offers resources for the budding scientist, with advice about effective science communication and career paths.


Arts and Humanities Data Service: AHDS is a UK national service aiding the discovery, creation and preservation of digital resources in and for research, teaching and learning in the arts and humanities. Currently, they cover five subject areas: archaeology, history, visual arts, performing arts, and literature, languages and linguistics.

Berkeley SunSITE: The Berkeley Digital Library SunSITE builds digital collections and services while providing information and support to digital library developers worldwide. If this doesn’t satisfy you, visit the list of Berkeley’s libraries to search for more digital collections such as the Bancroft Library – this site holds public access documents for topics such as JARDA (Japanese-American Relocation Digital Archives) and links to OAC-specific projects.

CARLI Digital Collections: This collection includes various images and texts from repositories such as the Newberry Library, Illinois Wesleyan University, the University of Saint Francis, and more.

Center for Digital Initiatives: Brown University’s digital collections are derived from their signature collections, including African-American sheet music from 1820-1920 (includes complete sheets with music), Lincoln broadsides, Napoleonic satirical prints produced between 1792 and 1829, and more. The materials are all open access.

CHNM: George Mason’s Center for History and New Media contains an amazing amount of images and text that cover a broad range of topics. Visit the “projects” section to view the online materials.

Claremont Colleges Digital Library: Collections of images, video and text that range from fine arts to social sciences.

Columbia University Digital Collections: From information about the “Advanced Papyrological Information System” to notable New Yorkers, this site from Columbia University Libraries is free and open to the public.

Cornell University Library: Visit digital collections, exhibits, and partnership projects from this link. You can also gain access to more information through this university’s Windows on the Past site. Only one collection, the International Women’s Periodicals, is Cornell University access only.

Digital Activities and Collections: The University of Chicago Library creates a variety of online finding aids and retrospectively digitized collections and also supports related initiatives on campus by providing systems administration and programming support to faculty-driven projects and collections. Some resources point to other sources such as the Library of Congress.

Digital Library: The University of Colorado Digital Library is a collaborative project between the University of Colorado System and institutions of the Auraria Higher Education Campus. Collections include images, audio, and video files. Many of these resources are available to the general public, although some may carry copyright restrictions.

Digital Library Collections: Northwestern University Library, Illinois, provides various tools for the online researcher, including audio speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King and more.

Digital Library of Information Science and Technology: dLIST is an open access archive for the Information Sciences, and is supported by the School of Information Resources and Library Science and Learning Technologies Center, University of Arizona.

Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) - The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. It strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science.

George Mason Digitized Collections: Special Collections & Archives (SC&A) creates and maintains representative digital collections for an increasing amount of its holdings. You’ll discover information gathered from Virginia Civil War archive, 1893 Southwest photographs and more at this site.

GPB Digital Library: This site, supported by Georgia Public Broadcasting, offers an archive of many programs including their “Cover to Cover” series on books and other topics on sports, arts, and more.

Harold B. Lee Library: The digital collections on the Brigham Young University site include art collections, dissertations, text, and multimedia. You can also conduct searches at the Scholarly Periodicals Center.

IATH: The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities is a research unit of the University of Virginia. The research projects, essays, and documentation presented here are the products of a unique collaboration between humanities and computer science research faculty, computer professionals, student assistants and project managers, and library faculty and staff.

Indiana University Digital Library Program: DLP is dedicated to the production, maintenance, delivery, and preservation of a wide range of high-quality networked information resources for scholars and students at Indiana University and elsewhere. Some collections are contained within the site, and others link to other online libraries and repositories.

Internet Archive: IA, founded by Brewster Kahle in 1996, is a non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining an on-line library and archive of Web and multimedia resources. Located at the Presidio in San Francisco, California, this site is a member of the American Library Association and is officially recognized by the State of California as a library. IA is mirrored at Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt to ensure the stability and endurance of the archives.

Internet Public Library: The Internet Public Library is hosted by The iSchool at Drexel, College of Information Science and Technology, with major support from the College of Information at Florida State University and its founder, the University of Michigan School of Information. This collection provides a learning/teaching environment with subject collections, special collections, and other tools that you would find in any bricks and mortar library.

The Library of Congress (LOC) - The nation's oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of Congress. It is also the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections.

Michigan State University Libraries: The Digital & Multimedia Center of the Michigan State University Libraries serves both the MSU community and the worldwide academic community through digitization projects that preserve scholarly resources and make them more widely available. Categories in the digital collections range from Africana to veterinary medicine.

NYPL Digital: The New York Public Library Digital is your gateway to The Library’s rare and unique collections in digitized form. Find over 550,000 images from primary sources and printed rarities including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs, illustrated books, and “printed ephemera.”

Office of Digital Collections and Research: The Office of Digital Collections and Research (DCR) of the University of Maryland Libraries provide extensive projects for online research.

Open Collections Program: Sponsored by Harvard University, this site offers information about projects such as ‘Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930,’ and ‘Women Working, 1800-1930.’ This site also provides a link to Harvard’s selection of Web-accessible collections.

Research in Computing for Humanities: RCH was founded at the University of Kentucky in 2001, and they work closely with the Special Collections and Digital Programs Division of the University of Kentucky Libraries and the Center for Visualization & Virtual Environments and UK’s Center for Computational Sciences to develop their projects. The site isn’t easy to navigate, as projects are listed on various pages throughout this site. But you’ll discover their Electronic Beowulf and other projects under construction at the bottom of the page.

SCC – Digital Projects: The SCC (Scholarly Communications Center) promotes the communication of scholarly material by developing digital projects across a broad range of academic topics, in collaboration with librarians, teaching and research faculty, and the State of New Jersey. Hosted by Rutgers University Libraries, this list contains topics ranging from an alcohol history database to WILD (Women In Leadership Database), a portal to unique scholarly resources about women’s leadership found in selective archival and manuscript collections at Rutgers University. You may also find additional projects at the library’s Project Page.

Smithsonian Digital Library: From annual reports to trade literature, the Smithsonian offers readers, students, and teachers the materials they might need to supplement specific projects.

The European Library: This digital collection offers access to the resources of the 47 national libraries of Europe. The resources include books, magazines, journals, audio recordings and other materials.

The World Digital Library (WDL) - A project of the U.S. Library of Congress, carried out with the support of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), and in cooperation with libraries, archives, museums, educational institutions, and international organizations from around the world. The WDL makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from all countries and cultures.

Tufts Digital Library: TDL provides a general means of interacting with digital content created at Tufts University or created for use in teaching and research by Tufts faculty, staff and students. However, most of the projects – such as the oral interviews that have audio files and transcriptions of the files – are open access.

UBdigit: The University of Buffalo (NY) includes primarily collections of still images, but anticipates future inclusion of a variety of digital media formats, including audio, video, kinetic images, animation, virtual reality, interactive sequences and multi-media constructs. At present, they carry projects that range from American literature to psychology.

UFDC Digital Collections: The University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC) is a research tool that enables a user to find unique and rare digitized materials held at the University of Florida (UF) and partner institutions. The repository holds a wide assortment of materials from arts, humanities, and social sciences to world projects such as the Africana Collection. Some resources are limited to university use only.

UCLA Library Digital Collections: This library offers broad public access to their digital collections, which include images, project papers, and photographs.

University of Minnesota Digital Collections Unit: The Visual History Archive alone contains nearly 52,000 video testimonies, and this is just one project among many available at this digital library. Search images to find items in topics that range from African-American Literature Cover Art to World War I & II Posters.

University of Oregon Libraries Digital Collections: This collection includes art images, a historical photography collection, a print collection and more. A number of collections are in the planning or development stages, including a “Medieval Manuscripts” collection and aerial photographs.

University of Tennessee Digital Collections: This site carries several projects that range from historical photograph collections to current collections gathered by this university’s Herbarium. Other projects include early images of Egypt and electronic theses and dissertations.

University of Washington Digital Collections: This site features materials from the University of Washington Libraries, University of Washington Faculty and Departments, and organizations that have participated in partner projects with the UW. The huge amount of material offered ranges from art and architecture to international and ethnic collections.

WRLC Libraries Digital and Special Collections: The Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC) provides staff and systems to manage digitizing projects, scan materials, and enter descriptive information developed in conjunction with library staff. Their members include institutions such as the Catholic University of America, American University, George Mason University and more.

Yale Digital Collections: A short list of the resources available online from Yale University Libraries is available here. Access to some collections is restricted to on-campus use only.