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Digital Collections

The digital revolution is here, and research institutions and museums worldwide are tackling the daunting task of converting their treasures to a computerized format.

This creates a veritable Internet treasure trove. Researchers can "visit" collections all over the world, viewing everything from great works of art to ancient Egyptian papyri with the click of a mouse.

Most relevant for future generations is the preservation aspect. Ancient documents are fragile; every time they are exposed to a ray of sunlight or oil from a fingertip, they deteriorate a little further. When documents are available digitally, the originals can be safely stored, assuring that they'll still be available for viewing one hundred years from now.

Here are some of the amazing digital resources available on the Internet:

  • University of Oxford Electronic Resources
    The collection includes early magazines, medieval manuscripts and material reconstructing human activity Ancient Greece. There is also discussion of the development and accessibility of the digitizing project.

  • Online Archive of California
    This site provides access to materials such as manuscripts, photographs and works of art held in libraries, museums, archives and other institutions across California. The database is searchable.

  • Online Images from National Library of Australia
    The collection has 20,000 historical and contemporary images relating to Australia. Researchers can decide which of two resolutions will serve their purpose or order high quality photographic reproductions.




  • SunSITE Digital Collections
    The UC Berkeley site features interviews with suffragettes, 19th-century photographs from Siberia and links to other digital collections. Check out the Tebtunis Papyri, the largest U.S. collection of papyri from a single site.

  • NASA JSC Digital Image Collection
    The NASA photo gallery contains more than 250,000 still images. The Earth from Space page contains high quality earth observation images and detailed captions.

  • Canada's Digital Collections
    Access collections at the National Library, the National Archives, the Museum of Civilization and other institutions. Find local histories, information about Canadian communities and a variety of educational resources.

  • Digital Library - The New York Public Library
    This site is still growing, but you can already view collections like The Building of the Empire State Building and Images of African Americans from the 19th Century. Upcoming collections include the Performing Arts Millennium Project, Black New York and Early Maps of the Middle Atlantic Seaboard.

  • UNESCO Photobank
    This directory of photographs covers a wide range of subjects related to UNESCO's fields of competence: education, science, culture and communication. Search for more than 10,000 digitized images.

  • Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library - Duke University
    Browse Historic American Sheet Music, documents from the Women's Liberation Movement, images of 1,373 papyri from ancient Egypt and a database of over 7,000 newspaper advertisements printed between 1911 and 1955.

  • Library of Congress Exhibitions
    View exhibits like The African American Odyssey: A Quest for Full Citizenship, American Treasures of the Library of Congress and Blondie Gets Married! Comic Strip Drawings by Chic Young. Though the public only has actual access to these exhibits for brief time, they are permanently available for viewing on the site.




   --- J. Walker

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