This is a challenging time for students and researchers alike, as we all adapt to working without many of the resources essential to our daily work. On the U of A Library Digital Initiatives team, staff has been working for years to build robust and interesting online research collections. Although we can’t wander among the shelves in person, we did ask our team to recommend some online collections that offer a similar experience of browsing & exploration.
Book Digitizers & Massive Digital Libraries
Internet Archive and their Open Library
This non-profit organization is dedicated to building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form, including millions of digitized books. With a mission to provide Universal Access to All Knowledge, Internet Archive provides online access to a massive catalogue of more than 24 million items! This includes over 100K items from the U of A Library, digitized through our digitization partnership.
A partnership of academic and research institutions, this collection offers millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world. This collection is primarily books and materials published in the US prior to 1923 and those published outside of the US prior to 1873. The archive also includes a large collection of US government documents. Abstracts are available for more current documents. The archive is updated regularly. Select “Full view” in your search results to access full text materials. Otherwise, search results will include all materials currently in the archive, regardless of access permissions.
Neat Niche Collections
This project provides entries on authors’ lives and writing careers, contextual material, timelines, sets of internal links, and bibliographies. Interacting with these materials creates a dynamic inquiry from any number of perspectives into centuries of women’s writing. Using the power of digital tools and methods to advance feminist literary scholarship, the Orlando Project is a collaborative and multidisciplinary venture that brings together literary scholars, digital humanists, and computing scientists from across the U of A campus and beyond.
Bruce Peel Special Collections has offered a fascinating array of award-winning exhibitions, some of which are now available for browsing online. A favourite among staff is the Canadian Women Artists’ Books, an exhibition that showcases how Canadian women artists pushed the limits of the traditional book form as expressions of social and political activism.
Also from the Bruce Peel Special Collection Library is this newly-digitized collection of 800+ playbills which document in detail casts, contents, dates and prices of the performances staged in the major playhouses of the United Kingdom from 1779 though 1949. The playbills also provide a wealth of information and opportunity for research in the study of history, graphic design and linguistics.
Mega List of “More” to Explore
At this time of crisis, millions of people are answering the call to help! Here is a growing list of Open Access resources, available to everyone (no CCID required!) Did you come across a useful resource that’s not already here? Please feel free to contribute!