Digital Collections

The documentary heritage of Massachusetts is essentially intact from its founding, and much rich information and documentation exists. Throughout the Commonwealth, repositories house irreplaceable collections of books and private and public documents that serve as a rich resource for researchers involved in local, state, regional, national, and international studies. Library staffs in public and academic libraries and in other repositories have long collected materials that document their immediate and adjoining locales as well as focusing on specific collecting areas. Although much of this material is monographs and pamphlets, a significant portion is manuscript material (personal and organizational papers), photographs, posters, ticket stubs, broadsides, etc. Many of these collections physically sound and have been organized with a finding aid but need greater accessibility for patron use.

The MBLC provides funds through the L.S.T.A. grant program for institutions to digitize their special collections for access. A number of libraries have taken advantage of this opportunity. Through this digital imaging project, Massachusetts' libraries have support to participate with a growing number of academic and research libraries in making our national memory available to all. Although final standards for the digitization of such materials do not yet exist, guidelines and "best practices" have been evolving through numerous projects including those undertaken at Yale, Cornell, and Columbia Universities, and at the Library of Congress. All digitization project funded through this L.S.T.A. program are expected to follow these guidelines and/or "best practices," and any standards that have been developed, throughout the project and beyond. By creating digital images of these resources and by making them available on the Web, libraries will be providing access to them for research from anywhere in the world. Moreover, the original documents can then be preserved and stored in secure, climate-controlled storage for those who actually need access to them in person for their research. Listed below are the links to special collections digitized under this program.

This Web site, and other programs of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, is funded in part with funds from the
Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency that fosters innovation, leadership and a lifetime of learning.
Page last updated on 10/2/2014