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Online Instruction Resources: Digital Repositories for Book History Teaching, Research, & More

Digital Repositories for Book History Teaching & Research

This list of resources was crowdsourced at the initiative of Dr. Megan L. Cook of Colby College, whose post to Twitter generated the contributions below. All but one (the Women’s Magazine Archive) are freely available to users everywhere. The Bibliographical Society of America now offers this page as a static resource that will be updated as new contributions come in.

Contributions welcome! Please email with the name and URL of the resource, and short description of what it offers.

Use Ctrl + F to search for terms specific to your teaching and research.

  • 15cBookTrade: 15cBOOKTRADE Project is to uses the material evidence from thousands of surviving books, as well as unique documentary evidence to address five fundamental questions relating to the introduction of printing in the West which have so far eluded scholarship, partly because of lack of evidence, partly because of the lack of effective tools to deal with existing evidence. Learn more here.
  • Archaeology of Reading: The Archaeology of Reading in Early Modern Europe (AOR) uses digital technologies to enable the systematic exploration of the historical reading practices of Renaissance scholars nearly 450 years ago. This is possible through AOR’s corpus of thirty-six fully digitized and searchable versions of early printed books filled with tens of thousands of handwritten notes, left by two of the most dedicated readers of the early modern period: John Dee and Gabriel Harvey.
  • Archivo José Carlos Mariátegui: Digitized materials from the archives of printer, publisher, and Marxist polemicist Jose Carlos Mariategui with much on the Mariategui brothers’ publishing house Editorial Amauta.
  • Atlas Obscura List of Crowdsourced Transcription Projects: Contribute – or encourage your students to contribute? – to crowdsourced transcription projects at the Newberry Library, University College London, New York Public Library, the Smithsonian, the National Archives, and the Library of Congress. Projects span a variety of subject areas, including African American history, food studies, environmental studies, women’s history, oral history, and more.
  • Basel Mission Archives: Provides access to a large selection of digitized visual and cartographic material as well as comprehensive catalogue data from the Basel Mission Archives: some 30,000 images, 6,700 maps, sketches and plans, and detailed references to our manifold written records. The Basel Mission was a Christian missionary society based in Switzerland, active 1815-2001, and operated in Russia, the Gold Coast (Ghana), Indian, China, Cameroon, Nigeria, Latin America, and Sudan.
  • Beinecke Library Digital Collections: The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library has digitized approximately one million images of collection material, with new images added regularly Particular strengths of the Beinecke Library’s digitized collection materials include medieval manuscripts, portions of the James Weldon Johnson Collections (African American history), and papyri, though virtually all aspects of the collections are represented to some degree in the digital library.
  • Beyond Words: Illuminated manuscripts in Boston library collections.
  • Bibliotheca Corvina: A virtual reconstruction of Bibliotheca Corvina, the Royal Library of King Matthias Hunyadi of Hungary (1458–1490). In addition to providing a full visual presentation of the codices and, to a smaller extent, of the incunabula, the content service also aims at serving as a platform for research.
  • Bibliotheca Digital Hispánica: The digital library of the Biblioteca Nacional de España, providing access free of charge to thousands of digitized documents, including books printed from the 15th to the 20th century, manuscripts, drawings, engravings, pamphlets, posters, photographs, maps, atlases, music scores, historic newspapers and magazines, and audio recordings.
  • Biblissima: A virtual library of libraries, providing access to the written cultural heritage from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance in the West, covering the 8th through the 18th centuries.
  • Biodiversity Heritage Library: Free access to digitized biological literature through a global consortium of contributing libraries and affiliated literature digitization projects. Over 150,000 titles from hundreds of contributors worldwide.
  • The Boston Public Library libguide for Medieval Manuscripts: Includes at least one image for each item in the collection.
  • The British Library’s Early Indian Printed Books: Rare Indian printed books providing insight into the social, political and cultural life of the subcontinent through published works of the 18th and 19th centuries. It also includes topical articles written by academics.
  • Cambridge Digital Library: Digitized materials from the University of Cambridge Library, with curated groups of subject-specific materials including Hebrew, Sanskrit, and Islamic ManuscriptsObject CollectionsMontaigne’s Library, Darwin’s manuscripts and letters, medieval and early modern Greek manuscripts, and more.
  • Cardiff University Illustration Archive: 1,000,000+ illustrations from 68,000 digitized volumes covering ‘Literature’, ‘Philosophy’, ‘History’ and ‘Geography’, published primarily in the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • City Readers: The New York Society Library’s portal to access digitized and transcribed circulation records from 1789-1804.
  • The Colby Echo: Published by the students of Colby College since 1877, The Colby Echo is the weekly, editorially independent student-run newspaper of Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Published monthly, 1877-1886; semi-monthly, 1886-1897; and weekly, during the academic year, 1898-present.
  • College of Charleston Lowcountry Digital Collections: Supporting research about the Lowcountry region of South Carolina and historically interconnected sites in the Atlantic World.
  • Companion website to Sarah Werner’s book, Studying Early Printed Books 1450–1800: A Practical Guide (Wiley 2019): Images/examples of bibliographical features of early printed books in the West, pedagogical exercises. Also includes Werner’s own compendium of digital book history resources.
  • Cornell Digital Collections: Cornell’s interface for access to digitized materials from their collections. Click here to browse a list of collections. Strengths include visual materials (like a collection of female impersonater postcards), African American history, popular culture, and more.
  • Database of Early English Playbooks (DEEP): Allows scholars and students to investigate the publishing, printing, and marketing of English Renaissance drama in ways not possible using any other print or electronic resource. An easy-to-use and highly customizable search engine of every playbook produced in England, Scotland, and Ireland from the beginning of printing through 1660, DEEP provides a wealth of information about the original playbooks, their title-pages, paratextual matter, advertising features, bibliographic details, and theatrical backgrounds.
  • Digital Anthology of Early Modern English Drama (EMED): features a wealth of data about over four hundred plays written by Shakespeare’s contemporaries. Listings variously include full texts in original spelling, textually encoded files, and historical data in a searchable and crosslinked interface.
  • DIY First Folio: offers high-resolution downloadable images from Shakespeare’s First Folio and a virtual printing house that walks users through the collation process. Users experience challenges faced by early modern printers and practice folding/unfolding printed sheets.
  • Lisa Fagin Davis’ List of Major Digital Repositories of Medieval Manuscripts in the United States
  • Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek: Database of digitized materials from all German libraries.
  • Digital Image Archive of Music: DIAMM (the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music) is a leading resource for the study of medieval manuscripts with over 3,000 records for manuscripts. 
  • Digital Bodleian: Large and varied collections from Oxford’s Bodleian Library including medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, East Asian collections, printed books, modern literary archives, ephemera, photographs, maps, and more. 
  • Digital Collections from the Institut Nationale d’Histoire de l’Art (INHA) Library: The INHA digital library provides online access to digitized documents from the library collections of the INHA, the Jacques Doucet collections, the Bibliothèque Centrale des Musées Nationaux (BCMN, Central Library of National Museums), and the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (ENSBA, National School of Fine Arts). Includes printed materials, photographs, drawings, and more.
  • Digital Comics Museum: Provides free downloads of “Golden Age” comic books in the public domain.
  • Digital Repository of Endangered and Affected Manuscripts in Southeast Asia: Strives to preserve the content of manuscripts in the entire region of Southeast Asia, and to make this content fully and openly accessible online.
  • E-Codices: Provides free access to all medieval and a selection of modern manuscripts in Switzerland.
  • Monastic Manuscript Project/Early Medieval Monasticism: Resources for the study of Early Medieval Monasticism in Europe compiled by Albrecht Diem and William May.
  • Edward T. LeBlanc Memorial Dime Novel Bibliography: Collects publication and authorship information about dime novels and dime novel-adjacent materials. Volunteers and researchers can request permission to edit the database directly. Start by examining the training manual to learn how to use and edit the database. Some of the bibliographic research opportunities include correcting missing and inaccurate parts of the existing database, completing data entry work from LeBlanc’s research, and researching other resources to find missing issue titles, publication dates, and so on.
  • Emblematica Online: Presents emblem books in an innovative digital environment and develop a portal for a key genre of European Renaissance texts and images.
  • Ephemera Online: A Visual Culture Project of the Library Company of Philadelphia including digitized material related to popular and visual culture, with particular strengths in the history of women, medicine, African-Americana, German-Americana, and economics.
  • Devin Fitzgerald’s Quick Curriculum for Chinese Book History: A guide to leading a single class session covering the history of the book in China, with links to digital resources.
  • Folger Shakespeare Library Resources: The Folger has pulled together a number of digital resources for teaching and learning in this blog post; from images to written word to spoken word, we have something for all of your Shakespeare and Early Modern needs.
  • Footprints: Jewish Books Through Time and Place: A database to track the circulation of printed “Jewish books” (in Hebrew, other Jewish languages, and books in Latin and non-Jewish vernaculars with Judaica contents).
  • Fordham University Library Digital Collections
  • The Getty Research Portal:  An online platform providing global access to digitized art history texts. The Portal is comprised of catalog records that link to full, digitized texts hosted by the contributing institutions or their service providers.
  • Gigi: Is the American Antiquarian Society’s Digital Image Archive. Collected in this image archive are representatives from all of the Society’s curatorial collections including manuscripts, rare books, children’s books, graphic arts (including prints and fine arts), newspapers and periodicals.
  • Harvard Digital Collections: Free, public access to over 6 million objects digitized from our collections – from ancient art to modern manuscripts and audio visual materials. Harvard also has a designated website for Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in their collection.
  • Hemeroteca Digital: The periodical and newspaper subsection of the Bibliotheca Digital Hispánica.
  • History of the Book (UCLA): The History of the Book is a networked resource focused on the production and reception of materials related to the history of the book and literacy technologies, broadly conceived. This ongoing project is being developed by Professor Johanna Drucker, working with staff and students based at UCLA to provide an online environment for research and learning.
  • Digital Collections of the Ibero-American Institute: Part of the Deutsche Digitale Bibliothek, but this site has digital surrogates that are not listed there, including chapbooks, pulps, magazines, prints, photographs, and digitized personal archives.
  • Indianapolis Public Library Digital Collections
  • Initiale: INITIALE is a digital catalogue of medieval illuminated manuscripts in French public libraries, with the exception of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
  • Iowa Digital Library: Features more than a million digital objects created from the holdings of the University of Iowa Libraries and its campus partners. Included are illuminated manuscripts, historic maps, fine art, historic newspapers, scholarly works, and more.
  • Irish Script on Screen: Provides access to digital images of Irish manuscripts, with relevant commentary.
  • Jigsaw Explorer: Create an online jigsaw puzzle from any IIIF compliant image.
  • John Carter Brown Digital Collections: High-resolution images from the Library’s archive of early American images, map collection, and political cartoon collection are available through Luna. Scans of over 10,000 full books are available through Internet Archive.
  • John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera: Access thousands of items selected from the John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera, offering unique insights into the changing nature of everyday life in Britain in the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Categories include Nineteenth-Century Entertainment, the Booktrade, Popular Prints, Crimes, Murders and Executions, and Advertising.
  • The Kim-Wait/Eisenberg Native American Literature Collection at Amherst College: The collection includes fiction, poetry, history, philosophy, sermons, anthropological works, photography, activist manifestos, books for children, and much more. The aim is to document as thoroughly as possible the full spectrum of Native American writing and intellectual life from the 18th century to the present.
  • The Kislak COVID-19 Resources: The Kislak COVID-19 Resources is a rapid response Jekyll site from the Libraries’ Jekyll Working Group, focused on documenting available resources from special collections at University of Pennsylvania Libraries, including the Kislak Center for Special Collections, the Library at the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, and the Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts.
  • Digital Archive of Latin American and Caribbean Ephemera: The Digital Archive of Latin American and Caribbean Ephemera is a steadily growing repository containing a previously unavailable subset of Princeton’s Latin American Ephemera Collection as well as newly acquired materials being digitized and added on an ongoing basis.
  • Linda Hall Library Digital Collections: Digitized images of collections from the Linda Hall Library, specializing in science, engineering, and technology
  • London School of Economics Digital Library: Digitized material from LSE Library collections and also born-digital material that has been collected and preserved in digital formats.
  • Manuscript Mediaevalia: More than 90,000 documents on Western manuscripts available mainly in German libraries. 
  • Manuscripts of the Muslim World in OPENN: Manuscripts of the Muslim World will include digital editions of more than 500 manuscripts and 827 paintings from the Islamicate world broadly construed.
  • McGill Library Digital Exhibitions & Collections: Explore more than 80 digital projects covering a wide array of subjects including art, architecture, history and literature, engineering, medicine, maps, music, and urban design.
  • McGill Library’s Chapbook Collection: The Rare Books and Special Collections Library at McGill University contains over nine hundred British and American chapbooks published in the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • Memories of Jewish Calcutta
  • Mississippi State University Digital Collections: Includes sheet music, diaries, correspondence, ledgers, photographs, transcripts, publications, and more. Include the Ulysses S. Grant Digital Collection as well as the Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana. Each of these resources contain primary resources related to the 16th and 18th presidents of the United States. The FVW Collection of Lincolniana also holds a substantial pamphlet collection.
  • The Mississippi Digital Library: Provides an online space to search and explore Mississippi’s rich abundance of cultural and historical resources held by institutions and repositories all across the state. Made up of over 40 institutions, our partners include archives, historical societies, museums, public libraries, academic libraries and more.
  • Montana Historical Society: The Museum collection of more than 50,000 artifacts contains art and three-dimensional artifacts relating to all aspects of Montana history and culture.
  • National Library of Ireland
  • National Library of Medicine (US)
  • National Library of Scotland
  • New-York Historical Society
  • The Newberry Library: Digital collections, scholarly publications and research tools, interactive resources, tools designed for education, and online exhibitions. See also the Newberry’s Digital Collections for the Classroom site.
  • Newcastle University Collections Captured: Collections materials organized thematically.
  • North Carolina Digital Collections: Digital collections of the State Archives of North Carolina and the State Library of North Carolina.
  • Panjab Digital Library: The mission of the Panjab Digital Library (PDL) is to locate, digitize, preserve, collect and make accessible the accumulated wisdom of the Panjab region, without distinction as to script, language, religion, nationality, or other physical condition.
  • Parker Library on the Web: A digital exhibit designed to support use and study of the manuscripts in the historic Parker Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.
  • Pinakes: Brings together the manuscript tradition of Greek texts prior to the 16th century, mainly from the catalogs of libraries around the world.
  • The Harry Ransom Center of UT Austin Digital Collections: A sample of the Ransom Center’s diverse holdings in literature, photography, film, art, and the performing arts.
  • Sacred Leaves Manuscript Collection: University of Southern Florida’s digital collection highlights illuminated manuscripts including individual leaves that illustrate different types of calligraphic hands and illumination, most dating from the medieval period. Items in this collection are only available online; we do not have physical copies of these items in the USF Library’s Special Collections. The original items were returned to the donor.
  • The Michael Sadleir Collection of 19th Century Fiction
  • Santa Clara University Special Collections & Archives
  • Shakespeare Census: Attempts to locate and describe all extant copies of all editions of Shakespeare’s works through 1700, excluding the folios. We include all items attributed to Shakespeare in print during the period, but not those attributed to him only by modern scholarship. We exclude the Restoration adaptations. The census currently includes records for 1841 copies.
  • Smithsonian Libraries Japanese Illustrated Books from the Edo & Meiji Periods
  • University of South Florida Digital Collections
  • SOAS Digital Collections: As a world leader in the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, SOAS now makes selected collections available for online use.  Its digital collections include archives and manuscriptsphotographs, maps, books and journals, newspapers, oral historiesfilms and audio.  Nearly all are available freely, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, all year round.  While some of this content is protected by copyright, all of it can be used with attribution under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC.
  • South Asia Open Archives: South Asia Open Archives is a free open-access resource for research and teaching – a rich and growing curated collection of key historical and contemporary sources in arts, humanities and social sciences, from and about South Asia, in English and other languages of the region
  • Southern Methodist University Digital Collections: Curated collections by subject include African American materials, archives of women of the southwest, photographs, family papers, American Civil War materials, and more.
  • Stanford Ancient, Medieval, and Early Modern Manuscripts: Stanford University Libraries, Department of Special Collections, houses a variety of Classical, Medieval, and Early Modern manuscript materials for teaching and research purposes including hundreds of papyri, manuscript leaves and fragments, and bound codices.
  • Stanford University Libraries Digital Collections
  • Trove:  Trove is Australia’s union catalogue, but also brings together digitised content from libraries, museums, galleries, universities, archives, data repositories and other research and collecting organisations around Australia. Trove contains digital reproductions of newspapers, journals, books, maps, personal papers, as well as archived websites and other born-digital content.
  • UCLA Children’s Book Collection
  • UMBRAUmbra Search African American History makes African American history more broadly accessible through a freely available widget and search tool,; digitization of African American materials across University of Minnesota collections; and support of students, educators, artists, and the public through residencies, workshops, and events locally and around the country.
  • University of Manchester Digital CollectionsManuscript collections span 5 millenia and include literary, historical, antiquarian, genealogical, biblical, devotional, ritualistic, medical, scientific, legal and administrative texts in numerous languages. The archives of the Methodist Church and the University of Manchester are well represented, in addition to examples of personal papers and family muniments. The printed book collections encompass almost all the landmarks of printing through five centuries, including magnificent illustrated books, examples of fine printing, landmark works in typography.
  • University of Oklahoma Libraries Digital Collections: Works currently available range from rare early printed books and manuscripts to large atlases and maps.
  • University of Virginia Digital Collections: Includes subject collections related to African American narratives, Virginia city & county records, early printed books, manuscripts, maps, WPA Life Histories, state government publications, etc.
  • Recently Digitized Manuscripts from the Vatican Library
  • Vetusta Monumenta: A digitized run of Vetusta Monumenta (Ancient Monuments), the print series published from 1718-1906 by the Society of Antiquaries of London.
  • The Wellcome Collection: Digitized images reflect the Wellcome’s collecting interests and were intended to form a documentary resource that reflects the cultural and historical contexts of health and medicine.
  • The Women’s Magazine Archive: A ProQuest database behind a paywall, this includes consumer magazines aimed at a female readership. They are recognized as critical primary sources through which to interpret multiple aspects of 19th and 20th-century history and culture.
  • Wren Digital Library: Provides access to digitized collections from the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge. The founding purpose was to digitize the College’s collection of Western medieval manuscripts catalogued by M. R. James in 1901-3. The Digital Library is also gradually expanding to include modern manuscripts and a selection of printed books.

Resources for Online Instruction 

From the American Sociological Association (ASA):
The ASA hosted a webinar discussed strategies for managing the transition from in-person to online instruction, adapting coursework, and facilitating student learning in an online environment. Panelists in the webinar include:

  • Melinda Messineo. Professor of Sociology, Ball State University. ASA Taskforce on Liberal Learning, Subcommittee on Online Learning.
  • Kimberly Alecia Singletary. Instructional Designer, Educational Consultant.
  • Matt Rafalow. Social Scientist, Google. Author of a forthcoming book on EdTech and inequality.

Watch the recorded webinar on ASA’s website, here.

From the American Historical Association (AHA):
Make your online course materials accessible with these tips from the AHA, including a how-to guide.

From the Society for Classical Studies
Their compilation of resources for transitioning to online instruction is viewable here.
SCS also compiled a list of digital resources for Classicists via Loeb Classical Library, JHU/Project Muse free access, Oxford University Press, and more.