The first digital collection I choose to feature is near and dear to my nerdy little heart.  It is the digital image collection from the University of Oklahoma’s History of Science Collections.  This little dandy is the brainchild of mac aficionado and all around wonderful librarian Kerry Magruder.  He’s created a digital mini-archive of some of the most historically significant images the Collections has digitized.  They are currently working feverishly to digitize Darwin’s works and related items for the 2009 Darwin conference to be held here at OU.  The images are arranged by century or period, listed by author, and finally by date the work was published.  The neatest part of the whole thing is that the Collections will allow people to use these images in papers, presentations, etc. simply by acknowledging that the image is from the History of Science Collections.  They have removed a lot of red tape surrounding permissions.  If nothing else it really is amazing to look at these images you would never get to see elsewhere.

The link:  http://hsci.ou.edu/galleries/

The second collection I found to be intriguing is another digitization project.  It is published through the Bibliographical Center for Research and called the Collaborative Digitization Program.  It is a collection of cultural, historical, and scientific heritage collections of the West.  This is a great resource for multiple reasons. First, it has more than simply archival papers and photographs.  It contains sound recordings too!  Secondly, their website provides a host of resources to help fledgling digital collections find their way.  Finally, like all good digital libraries, it fosters sharing of resources by partnering with a myriad of institutions.  This enriches the collection not only by drawing from a bigger pool of material, it also helps the material reach a wider audience by drawing attention to potentially obscure holdings through the power of the internet.

The link:   http://www.bcr.org/cdp/

 

The final collection I will discuss is Project Gutenberg.  I discovered this one by accident while searching for an electronic version of a classic history text online.  With the rise of portable electronic reading devices (like the Kindle I’m actively lusting after) this is a great resource.  Project Gutenberg is a collection of free e-books.  Their website says, “Project Gutenberg selects e-texts targeted a bit on the “bang for the buck” philosophy … we choose e-texts we hope extremely large portions of the audience will want and use frequently. We are constantly asked to prepare e-text from out of print editions of esoteric materials, but this does not provide for usage by the audience we have targeted, 99% of the general public.” They also, “Put [their] sights on a goal to release e-texts that are 99.9% accurate in the eyes of the general reader.” You can browse their digital “bookshelves” almost like in a physical library.  You can also do searches to find the text you desire.  You can also browse their catalog by Author, Title, Language or Recently Posted.  They have an extensive collection of e-books in non-romance languages, including ancient dead languages.  It is definitely a cool resource for works in the public domain.

The link:  http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page

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