Thousands of historic collection items held by the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries are now available for researchers to access through the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).
The DPLA makes millions of materials from libraries, archives, museums and other cultural institutions across the United States available through one searchable database. The University Libraries partnered with the DPLA’s Colorado-Wyoming service hub, the Plains to Peaks Collective (PPC), effectively broadening the scope of complimentary regional collections.
By sharing over 43,600 historic collection items with the DPLA, more researchers may find entry points into dozens of collections highlighting historic environmental maps and photography, physics research reports and contracts, women in rodeo and more.
“We are always looking for more ways to get our unique digital collections to more users,” said Metadata Librarian Erik Radio. “DPLA is a great resource in that it makes our collections available through a single access point but also alongside other similar collections from other organizations leading to an enriched search experience.”
Notable digital collections now available through the DPLA include the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) Glacier Photograph Collection, the Rocky Flats Collection, the CU Museum of Natural History’s Vertebrate Collection Documentation, the Clifford P. and Therese S. Westermier Digital Collection which highlights regional Rocky Mountain women in rodeo, the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Colorado.
“Memory organizations have amazing resources but it isn’t always easy [for researchers] to know how to access them,” he said. “DPLA provides a friendly way for those individuals to search for those items without having to search multiple organizations separately.”
Leigh Jeremias is the digital collections coordinator at Colorado State Library. She says the Plains to Peaks Collective is thrilled to be able to offer another avenue of online access to CU Boulder’s collections.
“The additions of CU Boulder Libraries’ digital collection strengthens the historic narrative of Colorado and the West, making the collective contributions to this shared history more impactful,” Jeremias said.
Over the years, the libraries have made substantial strides in digitizing more of its archival holdings.
"The demand for digitization has increased exponentially in the last 10 years as more and more people expect a wide variety of resources to be available online,” said Ashlyn Velte, interim head of the University Libraries Archives. ""In the archives, we know it's important to make more of our collections available online in a world that is more digitally connected than ever."
As archivists, metadata librarians and technicians continue to identify and perform digitization projects for the CU Digital Library, the libraries will continue to share more collections with the DPLA in the coming months. Explore our collections through the DPLA now.
Check out the Colorado Virtual Library’s write-up on the new partnership between the University Libraries and the Plains to Peaks Collective.