Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

The Digital Humanities: DIGITAL COLLECTIONS, LIBRARIES, AND REPOSITORIES

This guide is intended to grow and evolve as new resources and research tools relating to the Digital Humanities become available so as to support the ongoing discovery and creation of knowledge by USC faculty and students

ABOUT DIGITAL COLLECTIONS

DIGITAL COLLECTIONS AT USC

USC Digital Library   Spanning a wide range of visual media, the USC Digital Library holds almost 400,00 objects, 1.1 million files that offer digital images of drawings, illuminated manuscripts, maps, photographs, posters, prints, rare illustrated books (all of which can be viewed at the highest resolution available), as well as audio and video recordings. Encompassing the subject strengths of the vast collections of the libraries at the University of Southern California, these materials represent the applied sciences, fine and decorative arts, history, performing arts, and social sciences. A portion of the images contained in the USC Digital Library come from the collections of collaborating institutions which, like USC, have valuable archival collections that are of interest to a wide range of people.  

USC Digital Repository  Preservation, storage, and access:  "The Repository Team draws upon the extensive resources of USC, particularly USC Libraries, the USC Digital Library, the USC Shoah Foundation and the USC Information Technology Services group."

INTERNATIONAL COLLECTIONS

World Digital Library (WDL). Launched (14 April 2009) by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and 32 partner institutions, it is the world's third major digital library, after Google Book Search and the EU's Europeana. An international digital library operated by UNESCO and the United States' Library of Congress to promote international and intercultural understanding, expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet, provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences, and to build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and among countries. It aims to expand non-English and non-western content on the Internet, and contribute to scholarly research by making available important primary materials from cultures around the world, including maps, manuscripts/calligraphy, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, architectural drawings, and other significant cultural materials. It aims to reduce the rich-poor digital divide, expand "non-Western" content on the web, promote better understanding between cultures and provide a global teaching resource. 

The World Wide Web WWW Virtual Library (VL) is the oldest catalogue of the Web, started by Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of HTML and of the Web itself, in 1991 at CERN in Geneva. Unlike commercial catalogues, it is run by a loose confederation of volunteers, who compile pages of key links for particular areas in which they are expert; even though it isn't the biggest index of the Web, the VL pages are widely recognised as being amongst the highest-quality guides to particular sections of the Web.

DIGITAL COLLECTIONS - EUROPE

AthenaPlus is a Best Practice Network with 41 institutional partners in 21 European countries. Its main objective is to make cultural heritage more widely accessible through Europeana. By sharing experience from hundreds of experts from all over Europe, the project supports the development of new applications for digital heritage.

Biblioteca Digital Hispanica. The Hispanic Digital Library (created in 2008) is the digital library of the Biblioteca Nacional de España. It provides access free of charge to thousands of digitised documents, including books printed from the 15th to the 20th century, manuscripts, drawings, engravings, pamphlets, posters, photographs, maps, atlases, music scores, historic newspapers and magazines and audio recordings.

DIGITAL MEETS CULTURE is intended as a portal for gathering information about the digital culture in the world, taking into account the different approaches that science, cultural heritage and arts have to the digital age. This portal aims to act as a reference point and as a valuable mean of information and communication for different users in a global dimension. It is conceived as a meeting place between technologies and arts & humanities.  See events for workshops, conferences, summer programs.

EuroDocs - Online Sources for European History. A digital history portal that offers links to online facsimiles, transcriptions, and translations of European primary historical sources. The sponsoring organization is the Harold B. Lee Library at Bringham Young University, where it was begun in 1995 by Richard Hacken, European Studies Bibliographer. The main page of EuroDocs points to 52 separate web indexes for countries and city-states of Europe, as well as to sites for: Prehistoric and Ancient Europe, Medieval and Renaissance Europe: Primary Documents, and Europe as a Supranational Region: Primary Documents.

Europeana. Provides access to millions of items from a range of Europe's leading galleries, libraries, archives and museums: books and manuscripts, photos and paintings, television and film, sculpture and crafts, diaries and maps, sheet music and recordings. Thematic collections on art, fashion, music, photography and World War I contain galleries, blogs and exhibitions.

Europeana Collections 1914-1918 has created by 2014 – the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War – a substantial digital collection of material from national library collections of ten libraries and other partners in eight countries that found themselves on different sides of the historic conflict.

Flandrica.be (launched 2011) is a web portal that links the online repositories of the Flanders Heritahe Librry consortium in partnership with the libraries of the Antwerp Museum for Diamonds, Jewelry and Silver, and the Plantin-Moretus Museum. It showcases culturally significant or aesthetically pleasing items (illuminated manuscripts, printed books, periodicals, and engravings) produced in or about what is now the Flemish Region of Belgium (Northern part of Belgium). It is funded by the Flemish Community and by the libraries themselves.

Gallica. Gallica is the digital library of the National Library of France and its partners. Online since 1997, it is enriched every week with thousands of new features and now offers access to several million documents.

DIGITAL COLLECTIONS - UK

British Library Online Gallery of virtual books and online exhibitions with objects from the British Library Collections. Images will be marked either with copyright restrictions or are public domain or in the creative commons.

Screen Archive South East (University of Brighton, UK) is a public sector moving image archive serving the South East of England. The archive’s collections of magic lantern slides, films, video, and associated materials capture the many varied aspects of life, work and creativity from the early days of screen history to the present day and serve as a rich and invaluable historical resource. Includes over 7,000 films and some 10,000 lantern slides from the nineteenth century as well as a significant collection of apparatus and related artifacts.

ONLINE IMAGE REPOSITORIES

Getty Search Gateway. The Getty makes available, without charge, all available digital images to which the Getty holds the rights or that are in the public domain to be used for any purpose.

Global Memory Net, Global Memory Net (GMNet) is a world digital library of cultural, historical, and heritage image collections. It is directed by Ching-chich Chen, Professor Emeritus of Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts and supported by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) International Digital Library Program (IDLP). The goal of GMNet is to provide a global collaborative network that provides universal access to educational resources to a worldwide audience. GMNet provides multilingual and multimedia content and retrieval.

Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. Images may or may not be open access.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection Search. Search over 400,000 images in the Met's collection. Filter by artist, object type, location, date, and department.

New York Public Library Digital Commons. Spanning a wide range of historical eras, geography, and media, NYPL Digital Collections offers drawings, illuminated manuscripts, maps, photographs, posters, prints, rare illustrated books, videos, audio, and more. Items will be marked with copyright restrictions if they exist.

U.S. Government Photos and Image Search. Some of these photos and videos are in the public domain or U.S. government works and may be used without permission or fee. However, some may be protected by license or copyright.

DIGITAL COLLECTIONS - UNITED STATES

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.

Harvard Digital Collections provides free, public access to more than 6 million objects digitized from our collections - from ancient art to modern manuscripts and audio visual materials.While much of Harvard Library's digital content is available only to Harvard affiliates, Harvard Digital Collections provides free, public access to over six million digital objects - from ancient art to modern manuscripts and even audio/visual material.

The HathiTrust is a partnership of almost 100 institutions working together to digitize library and archival collections, and they have made over 5 million books freely available online.

Medical Heritage Library (MHL). A digital curation collaborative among some of the world’s leading medical libraries; it promotes free and open access to quality historical resources in medicine. Our goal is to provide the means by which readers and scholars across a multitude of disciplines can examine the interrelated nature of medicine and society, both to inform contemporary medicine and strengthen understanding of the world in which we live. The MHL’s growing collection of digitized medical rare books, pamphlets, journals, and films number in the tens of thousands, with representative works from each of the past six centuries, all of which are available here through the Internet Archive.

Modernist Journals Project .The MJP is a multi-faceted project (jointly developed by Brown University and the University of Tulsa; free to the Public) that aims to be a major resource for the study of modernism and its rise in the English-speaking world, with periodical literature as its central concern. The historical scope of the project has a chronological range of 1890 to 1922 (though the earliest journals that currently appear on the site date from 1896 and 1904), and a geographical range that extends to wherever English language periodicals were published. “We end at 1922 for two reasons: first, that year has until recently been the public domain cutoff in the United States; second, most scholars consider modernism to be fully fledged in 1922 with the publication of Virginia Woolf’s Jacob’s Room, James Joyce’s Ulysses, and T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. We believe the materials in the MJP will show how essential magazines were to the rise and maturation of modernism.”

New York Public Library Digital Commons. Spanning a wide range of historical eras, geography, and media, NYPL Digital Collections (regularly updated) offers drawings, illuminated manuscripts, maps, photographs, posters, prints, rare illustrated books, videos, audio, and more. Items will be marked with copyright restrictions if they exist.

OAIster is a union catalog created at the University of Michigan in 2002 and funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Melon Foundation, with the purpose of establishing a retrieval service for publicly available digital library resources provided by the research library community. This catalog was built through harvesting from open access collections worldwide using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). Today, OAIster includes more than 50 million records that represent digital resources from more than 2,000 contributors.

Open F|S. The complete digitized collections of the Freer and Sackler Galleries and the Freer Study Collection, the National Museums of Asian Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. The Freer and Sackler Galleries are home to some of the world’s most important holdings of Asian art. In the Freer, you’ll also find late nineteenth-century works by James McNeill Whistler and his American contemporaries, while the Sackler hosts contemporary art from Asia as well as international loan exhibitions. Our entire collection is available digitally.

Perseus (Tufts University). Under development since 1987 this collection covers the history, literature and culture of the Greco-Roman world. Current research centers on personalization: organizing what you see to meet your needs. The code for the digital library system and many of the collections that have been developed are now available: for more information, click here.

US National Library of Medicine Digital Projects:  Includes digital collections (rich, historical resources); films and videos, historical anatomies, as well as "The Visible Human Project": anatomically detailed, three-dimensional representations of male and female human bodies; medical masterpieces from past centuries. Themes in the collections include Unique English Imprints, pre-1800; Medicine in the Americas 1610–1920, Cholera Online 1817–1900, World War 1 1914–1918, and many more.

Wikimedia Commons. A database of tens of thousands of freely usable media files (images, sound, and videos) to which anyone can contribute.

DIGITAL COLLECTIONS - AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

The Australian Poetry Library (APL).  A digital library of Australian poetry. It aims to promote a greater appreciation and understanding of Australian poetry by providing access to a wide range of poetic texts as well as to critical and contextual material relating to them, including interviews, photographs and audio/visual recordings. This website currently contains over 42,000 poems, representing the work of more than 170 Australian poets. All the poems are fully searchable, and may be accessed and read freely on the World Wide Web.

DigitalNZ is the search site for all things New Zealand: you can discover (for free) more than 30 million digital items (including videos; newspapers; maps; photographs; audio recordings; artworks; and news reports) in reliable digital collections from more than 200 content partners, including: libraries; museums; galleries; government departments; the media; community groups; and others.

PARADISEC (the Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures) is a digital archive of records of some of the many small endangered cultures and languages of the world.  It has been developed since 2003 by a consortium of Australian researchers from the University of Sydney, the University of Melbourne and the Australian National University.

Trove. Search for digital copies of newspapers, Government Gazettes, maps, magazines and newsletters. Or books, pictures, photographs, archived websites, music and interviews. Even information about famous Australians, including copies of letters, diaries and personal archives. 

University of Sydney Library Digital Collections. With almost 4 million titles - both digital and physical - the University of Sydney Library is the largest academic library collection in the southern hemisphere. It provides a rich and diverse collection of resources, including rare books and manuscripts, electronic publications, and databases.

DIGITAL COLLECTIONS - CARRIBEAN AND LATIN AMERICA

The Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) is a cooperative of partners within the Caribbean and circum-Caribbean that provides users with access to Caribbean cultural, historical and research materials held in archives, libraries, and private collections. dLOC comprises collections that speak to the similarities and differences in histories, cultures, languages and governmental systems. Types of collections include but are not limited to: newspapers, archives of Caribbean leaders and governments, official documents, documentation and numeric data for ecosystems, scientific scholarship, historic and contemporary maps, oral and popular histories, travel accounts, literature and poetry, musical expressions, and artifacts.

Domínio Público is a digital library created by the Brazilian government under the Secretaria de Educação à Distância do Ministério da Educação, with the goal of harnessing the diffusion of cultural works under public domain. It contains more than 10,000 works in text format and another 4,000 in other formats (music, video, images etc.), the majority in Portuguese.

Hemispheric Institute Digital Video Library (HIDVL) is the first major digital video library of performance practices in the Americas. Created in partnership with NYU Libraries and with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this growing repository guarantees historical preservation and free, online access to almost 900 hours of video through the Hemispheric Institute website. A trilingual Profile (English, Spanish and Portuguese) is created for each collection, contextualizing the videos with detailed production information, synopses, image galleries, texts, interviews, bibliographies and additional materials. It provides a digital venue for documenting the expression of social and political life through performance in the many cultures and political landscapes of the Americas. It brings together in one place materials that have been available only in small, little-known archives that are inaccessible to scholars and that lack the resources to properly care for and provide access to these extraordinary cultural documents. Click here to see an alphabetical index of artist and scholars.