E-Net News

National digital library adds Elon historical records

Hundreds of university publications, documents and images were made available late last fall to online visitors of the Digital Public Library of America.

Archived material that Elon University has posted online in recent years is now available in the Digital Public Library of America, a database of items uploaded to the Internet by libraries, archives, schools, museums and historical societies across the United States.

Considered one of the best emerging places for primary sources, the Digital Public Library of America is constantly adding content from a number of large and small repositories.

“It’s a giant catalog of digital content,” said Katie Nash, a university archivist in Belk Library. “This is the portal to use if you want to search for digital content in the United States. … Before now you would just do a Google search and hope to find something.”

The Elon collection includes digitized copies of student newspapers, yearbooks, student handbooks, photos, postcards, audio and video recordings, and official campus publications dating back to the early 1900s. Nearly 900 items are featured in the database.

Nash said there are many topics in which people may benefit from Elon University content. For instance, those researching the evolution of American higher education, the history of co-educational colleges, North Carolina history, or town and gown relationships may discover Elon documents through their use of the archive.

Having documents accessible through the Digital Public Library of America increases the visibility and use of the university’s online content, Nash said, and it makes people aware of Elon and its unique history.

“The greater the number of access points, the more likely people are to learn about Elon,” she said, “and the more relevant Elon will be to researchers.”

The university joined the Digital Public Library of America in November through a partnership with the State Library of North Carolina and the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One hundred and thirty nine institutions across the state are represented in the DPLA through the digital heritage center.

Eric Townsend,
1/10/2014 9:00 AM