Research Guides

A Practical Guide to Digital Collections & Exhibits

Using Digital Collections & Archives
Digital Scholarship Libguides – links to multiple libguides covering Data Services, GIS Resources at UM Libraries, and Digital Scholarship.
Archive Discovery: A How-To Guide” – Newton Gresham Library’s digital collections libguide, Sam Houston State University.
            Also provides an extremely helpful guide on “Primary vs. Secondary Sources
Public Library Association Digital Collections LibGuide - This section of the ALA LibGuide offers resources to guide libraries in the provision of long-term access to the physical and intellectual contents of their collections ...
Accessing Digital Archives – Tweet Collections” – University of North Carolina Chapel Hill archived tweet collection LibGuide
Online Collections & Archives
UML Digital Collections Main Page – Landing page for UML digital collections  
UML Scholarly Repository Main Page – “The Scholarly Repository features selected research and scholarly works prepared by faculty, students, and staff at the University of Miami.”  Includes links to theses, dissertations, and other academic research.
Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) 
“The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is an all-digital library that aggregates metadata — or information describing an item — and thumbnails for millions of photographs, manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images, and more from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States. DPLA brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world. “  
Library of Congress Digital Collections – “The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts in its collections. The Library is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.”
National Archives & Records Administration – “The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation's record keeper. Of all documents and materials created in the course of business conducted by the United States Federal government…”
  • Also includes History Hub – “a research support community for everyone, including genealogists, historians and citizen archivists”
U.S. National Library of Medicine Digital Collections – the National Library of Medicine's free online repository of biomedical resources including books, manuscripts, still images, videos, and maps. The content in Digital Collections is freely available worldwide and, unless otherwise indicated, in the public domain. Digital Collections provides unique access to NLM's rich historical resources, as well as select modern resources.
HATHI Trust – “HathiTrust (listen to pronunciation) is a growing, global partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future. The mission of HathiTrust is to contribute to research, scholarship, and the common good by collaboratively collecting, organizing, preserving, communicating, and sharing the record of human knowledge. There are more than 140 members in HathiTrust, and membership is open to institutions worldwide.”
Umbra Search African American History – “makes African American history more broadly accessible through a freely available widget and search tool,; digitization of African American materials across University of Minnesota collections; and support of students, educators, artists, and the public through residencies, workshops, and events locally and around the country.”
EuroDocs – “These open access sources are readily available to all -- without fees or subscriptions.
Links connect to European primary historical documents that are transcribed, reproduced in facsimile, or translated. In addition, you will find video or sound files, maps, photographs or other imagery, databases, and other documentation. The sources cover a broad range of historical happenings (political, economic, social and cultural). The order of documents is chronological wherever possible.”
  • Also provides links to other tangential digital collections including (but not limited to):
  • Europeana “Europeana Collections provides access to over 50 million digitised items – books, music, artworks and more – with sophisticated search and filter tools to help you find what you’re looking for. Our dedicated thematic collections on art, fashion, music, photography and World War I contain galleries, blogs and exhibitions to inform and inspire. To learn more about Europeana, and find out how you can get involved, visit Europeana Pro.”
OEDB (Open Education Database) - directory of open access digital libraries & archives – Contains links to over 250+ digital collections, archives, and repositories broken down by state and region.
Tools for Creation & Analysis of Digital Collections and Exhibits
UML Image Use & Requests – Some Special Collections may be photocopied or scanned upon request.
UML Copyright Guidelines for Digital Collections  - copyright policy for University of Miami Libraries – “ provides a set of standardized rights statements that can be used to communicate the copyright and re-use status of digital objects to the public. Our rights statements are supported by major aggregation platforms such as the Digital Public Library of America and Europeana. The rights statements have been designed with both human users and machine users (such as search engines) in mind and make use of semantic web technology.”
Creative Commons – “Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that helps overcome legal obstacles to the sharing of knowledge and creativity to address the world’s pressing challenges.”
CONTENTdm – An institutional repository that “can handle document, image, video, and audio files of any kind, and it offers audio and video players for smooth play on mobile devices. With CONTENTdm, you have full control over your digital resources and their descriptions, access, and display. You can fully customize metadata fields and maximize end-user discovery of your materials. CONTENTdm's integration with IIIF APIs allows you to share images across collections and connect your collections with many tools and viewers.”
Omeka – “Omeka is a web publishing platform for sharing digital collections and creating media-rich online exhibits.”  The Omeka software is open-source and customizable.  Both free and hosted versions are available.  
Knightlab – “The Lab develops prototypes, projects and services that help make information meaningful and promote quality journalism, storytelling and content on the internet.”
  • Juxtapose: creates frame comparisons
  • Scene: creates VR stories
  • Soundcite: enables you to add inline audio to your stories
  • Storyline: build annotated, interactive line charts
  • StoryMap: create interactive maps that highlight the locations of a series of events
  • Timeline: use digital objects to create interactive timelines
Historypin  -  “We host 365,951 stories pinned across 27,844projects and tours – across 2,600 cities. Built by a community of 80,000+ storytellers, archivists and citizen historians.  These numbers are growing every day as people around the world are running local Historypin activities within their communities.”
ArcGIS Online – “ArcGIS Online enables you to connect people, locations, and data using interactive maps.”
AntConc – AntConc is a freely available tool for text mining and corpus linguistics, with versions available for Macintosh, Windows, and Linux operating systems. Download free for Windows, Macintosh, or Linux.
“Collections As Data” project – plain text datasets of objects found in UM’s digital collections available for bulk download to facilitate computational text analysis.  Two collections available:  
Tableau – “Tableau Public is a free platform to publicly share and explore data visualizations online. Anyone can create visualizations using either Tableau Desktop Professional Edition or the free Public Edition.”
More Resources
The following recommended reading list is not meant to be an exhaustive list of literature related to digital collections, but rather to provide a natural starting point from which students, faculty, and patrons may learn more about them.  For more information on creating, using, and maintaining digital collections, please see the LISTA (Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts) database.
MacKenzie, A. and Martin, L. (2016) Developing Digital Scholarship: Emerging Practices in Academic Libraries. Chicago, Ill.: Neal-Schuman (ISBN 978-0-8389-1555-4).
Purcell, Aaron D. (2016) Digital Library Programs for Libraries and Archives: Developing, Managing, and Sustaining Unique Digital Collections. Chicago, Ill.: NealSchuman (ISBN 978-0-8389-1450-2).
Metadata for Digital Collections: A How-To-Do-It Manual. Steven J. Miller. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers, 2011. 230 p. $80.00. ISBN 978-1-5557-0746-0
Other Guides & Resources
Articles on Digital Collections
Skekel, Donna (2008) Digital Collections: Transforming the Work of Libraries, Journal of Library Metadata, 8:2, 147-153, DOI: 10.1080/10911360802087341 Retrieved from
Hughes, Lorna M. (2014) 'Live and Kicking: The Impact and Sustainability of Digital Collections in the Humanities'. In: Clare Mills, Michael Pidd and Esther Ward. Proceedings of the Digital Humanities Congress 2012. Studies in the Digital Humanities. Sheffield: HRI Online Publications. Retrieved from
Huwe, T. K. (2017). Digital Collections and the Teachable Moment. Computers in Libraries, 37(4), 16–18. Retrieved from
Koster, L., & Woutersen-Windhouwer, S. (2018). FAIR Principles for Library, Archive and Museum Collections: A proposal for standards for reusable collections. Code4Lib Journal, 40(1). Retrieved from
Daigle, Bradley J. (2012) The Digital Transformation of Special Collections, Journal of Library Administration, 52:3-4, 244-264, DOI: 10.1080/01930826.2012.684504 Retrieved from
Zick, Greg. (2009) Digital Collections: History and Perspectives, Journal of Library Administration, 49(7), 687-693, DOI: 10.1080/01930820903260465 Retrieved from
Cain, J. O. (2016). Using Topic Modeling to Enhance Access to Library Digital Collections. Journal of Web Librarianship, 10(3), 210–225.
Articles on Digital Projects & Exhibits
Baggett, M. & Gibbs, R. (2014) Historypin and Pinterest for Digital Collections: Measuring the Impact of Image-Based Social Tools on Discovery and Access, Journal of Library Administration, 54(1), 11-22. DOI: 10.1080/01930826.2014.893111 Retrieved from
Bass, K.M., Puckett, C., & Rockman, S. (2015) Models of Digital Collection Use in a University Community. ResearchGate. Retrieved from:
Deal, Laura. (2015) Visualizing Digital Collections, Technical Services Quarterly, 32(1), 14-34. DOI: 10.1080/07317131.2015.972871 Retrieved from
Marsh, D., Punzalan, R., Leopold, R., Butler, B., & Petrozzi, M. (2016). Stories of impact: the role of narrative in understanding the value and impact of digital collections. Archival Science, 16(4), 327–372. Retrieved from
Marty, Paul F. (2011) My lost museum: User expectations and motivations for creating personal digital collections on museum websites. Library & Information Science Research 33(3), 211-219. Retrieved from
Novara, E. and Novara, V.J. (2017) Exhibits as Scholarship: Strategies for Acceptance, Documentation, and Evaluation in Academic Libraries. The American Archivist, Fall/Winter 2017, 80(2), 355-372.  Retrieved from
Ramsby, Kenton. (2016) A Checklist of Free Digital Tools and Software Programs. CLA Journal: Special Issue, Digital Humanities, 59(3), 295-298. Retrieved from:
Rose, Mary Z. (2016) Why and How to Create Digital Special Collections. CLA Journal: Special Issue, Digital Humanities, 59(3), 259-268. Retrieved from:
Shea-Tinn Yeh, Rynhart, J., Dressler, T., & Reyes, F. (2015) 3D Adaptive Virtual Exhibit for the University of Denver Digital Collections. Code4Lib Journal, (29)1. Retrieved from
Sherman, A., Watson, E., & Hervochon, G. (2017). Planning a juried art exhibit in an academic library and providing digital access in an institutional repository. PNLA Quarterly, 81(2). Retrieved from

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