39 And Counting: Digital Portals to Local Community History

Given the popularity of 71 Digital Portals to State History from last month–we got many comments with great additions to that list–I thought it would be useful to extend the conversation to the local level. Unlike for the earlier post, we did not have the services of an intern to do the research, so the starting list is shorter. But we were able to quickly pull together the list below of 39 county, municipal and other local institutions that provide online access to unique digital resources useful for studying the history and culture of their communities.

The starter list was assembled with some basic parameters. State-wide and regional portals are left out, although it would make sense to include them in a master list. The previous blog post, along with the details provided by the Library of Congress web page State Digital Resources: Memory Projects, Online Encyclopedias, Historical & Cultural Materials Collections, do a good job covering state-level portals. The list also aims to exclude local collections that are bundled within a state-wide portal. A number of states have a done fine work coordinating with local institutions to put collections online, including Ohio MemoryWashington Rural Heritage and The State of Wisconsin Collection from the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center (just to name some). Scores of local institutions are represented through such portals. A more comprehensive list could, perhaps, specifically mention each of those entities.

The list is heavy with public libraries. Certainly other kinds of institutions are providing this kind of service as well and ultimately should be included in a more comprehensive accounting. On the other hand, the list does attempts to be broad in terms of collection size and coverage, as well as the level of technological sophistication used to to present content. The list emphasizes access, although it is to be hoped that all the institutions named are relying on current best practices for digital preservation.

I know there are many more worthy sites out there. Please let us know what is missing from this starter list. We will compile suggestions into a more complete list and make it available. Think of it as a crowdsourcing project!




AL Birmingham Public Library http://www.bplonline.org/locations/central/archives/
AR Fayetteville Public Library http://www.faylib.org/content/local-history
AZ Scottsdale Public Library http://www.scottsdalelibrary.org/historical
CA Corona Public Library http://coro.sdp.sirsi.net/client/coronaheritageonline
CA Escondido Public Library https://library.escondido.org/escondidohistory.aspx
CA Los Angeles Public Library http://www.lapl.org/collections-resources/photo-collection-overview
CA Pomona Public Library http://content.ci.pomona.ca.us/
CA Sacramento Public Library http://cdm15248.contentdm.oclc.org/
CA San Francisco Public Library http://sfpl.org/index.php?pg=0200000301
CO Denver Public Library http://digital.denverlibrary.org/
DC DC Public Library http://dclibrary.org/research/collections
FL Hillsborough Country Public Library Cooperative http://www.hcplc.org/hcplc/research/burgert/
FL Manatee County Public Library http://cdm16681.contentdm.oclc.org/
FL Winter Park Public Library http://www.wppl.org/wphistory/DigitizedCollections.htm
IA Iowa City Public Library http://history.icpl.org/
IL Chicago Public Library http://www.chipublib.org/images/index.php
IL Herrin City Library https://www.facebook.com/HerrinHistoryRoomGatherings/photos_stream
IN Allen County Public Library http://www.acpl.lib.in.us/database/index/acpl_digital_library.html
IN Indianapolis Public Library http://digitallibrary.imcpl.org/cdm/
IN Jefferson Country Public Library http://www.mjcpl.org/historyrescue/
MA Boston Public Library http://www.bpl.org/collections/online/
MA North of Boston Library Exchange (NOBLE) http://heritage.noblenet.org/
MN Hennepin County Library http://hclib.tumblr.com/MinneapolisHistory
MO Kansas City Public Library http://www.kclibrary.org/kchistory
MO Springfield-Greene County Library District http://thelibrary.org/lochist/digicollections.cfm
NJ Plainfield Public Library http://www.plainfieldlibrary.info/Departments/LH/LH_main.html
NY Brooklyn Public Library http://www.bklynpubliclibrary.org/brooklyncollection/digital-collections
OH Dayton Metro Library http://content.daytonmetrolibrary.org/
OH Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County http://virtuallibrary.cincinnatilibrary.org/virtuallibrary/
OK Tulsa City-County Library http://guides.tulsalibrary.org/content.php?pid=137405&sid=1180104
PA University of Pittsburgh/Historic Pitssburgh http://digital.library.pitt.edu/pittsburgh/
TN Knox County Public Library http://cmdc.knoxlib.org/
TN Nashville Public Library http://nashville.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/nr
TX Houston Public Library http://digital.houstonlibrary.org/
VA Norfolk Public Library http://www.npl.lib.va.us/local-history-genealogy/smc-digital-collection
WA Everett Public Library http://www.epls.org/nw/digital.asp
WA Seattle Public Library http://www.spl.org/library-collection/articles-and-research/local-history
WI La Crosse Public Library http://archives.lacrosselibrary.org/
WI Milwaukee Public Library http://www.mpl.org/file/digital_index.htm


  1. Judy Riffel
    October 25, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Here’s the link for the Baton Rouge Digital Archives http://cdm16340.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/

  2. Susan Goldstein
    October 25, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    North of Boston Library Exchange should be under MA, not CA.

  3. Betty Shankle
    October 25, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Fort Worth Library Digital Archives (Fort Worth, Texas) is at http://cdm16084.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/

  4. Maria E Gonzalez
    October 25, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    I would recommend the NJ Hispanic Research and Information Center at the Newark (NJ) Public Library http://www.npl.org/Pages/Collections/njhric.html


  5. Jennifer Hecker
    October 26, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Austin History Center (TX): http://library.austintexas.gov/ahc

  6. Rebecca Kilby
    October 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Greenville County Library System (SC): http://encore.greenvillelibrary.org/iii/cpro/app

  7. Sharad Shah
    October 28, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    New Hanover County Public Library Digital Archives (NC):


    Arlington Public Library Center for Local History (VA):


    or the digital collections:

  8. Sharad Shah
    October 28, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    DC Public Library’s Special Collections (DC):


  9. Lindsay Z.
    October 29, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    http://washingtoncountyheritage.org/ is a database of historical materials from Washington County, Oregon.

  10. Hilary S.
    October 30, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    Pasadena, CA A collaboration between the public library, city college and museum.

  11. Peter Rudrud
    October 31, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Please consider adding our library’s “Digital Portals to Local Community History.” Thank you.

    L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library (Eau Claire, WI)


  12. Elizabeth Bradt
    November 1, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    The Tuscaloosa Area Virtual Museum is a volunteer digital project covering the West Alabama area including the cities of Tuscaloosa and Northport.

  13. Anne Marie Hamilton-Brehm
    November 8, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Local history digital collections for Henderson, Nevada, provided by Henderson District Public Libraries, including World War II photographs, newspapers, magazines, early municipal records, and video oral histories, are available at http://digitalcollections.mypubliclibrary.com/

  14. Dana Dalrymple
    November 18, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Spokane Public Library WA

  15. Will Robinson
    February 10, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    This is a Local History and Genealogy Blog for Wilson County, NC

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.