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39 And Counting: Digital Portals to Local Community History

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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
AR Fayetteville Public Library
AZ Scottsdale Public Library
CA Corona Public Library
CA Escondido Public Library
CA Los Angeles Public Library
CA Pomona Public Library
CA Sacramento Public Library
CA San Francisco Public Library
CO Denver Public Library
DC DC Public Library
FL Hillsborough Country Public Library Cooperative
FL Manatee County Public Library
FL Winter Park Public Library
IA Iowa City Public Library
IL Chicago Public Library
IL Herrin City Library
IN Allen County Public Library
IN Indianapolis Public Library
IN Jefferson Country Public Library
MA Boston Public Library
MA North of Boston Library Exchange (NOBLE)
MN Hennepin County Library
MO Kansas City Public Library
MO Springfield-Greene County Library District
NJ Plainfield Public Library
NY Brooklyn Public Library
OH Dayton Metro Library
OH Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
OK Tulsa City-County Library
PA University of Pittsburgh/Historic Pitssburgh
TN Knox County Public Library
TN Nashville Public Library
TX Houston Public Library
VA Norfolk Public Library
WA Everett Public Library
WA Seattle Public Library
WI La Crosse Public Library
WI Milwaukee Public Library

Comments (17)

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

    • Thanks for the correction.

    • Thank you very much!


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

  3. 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

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