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HIST 2110: Survey of US History (Johnson/Fall 2016): Home

Video Tutorial: Searching GSU Library's Digital Collections

Click here for a video tutorial on "Searching in the GSU Library's Digital Collections."

GSU Library's Digital Collections consists of digitized materials which are held in GSU's Special Collections and Archives.

These links give more information about the major collecting areas in Special Collections and contact information for the archivists responsible for each collecting area.

The GSU Library's Digital Collections draw on these collecting areas. But: not all of the collections in these areas have been digitized.

Video Tutorial: Searching in the Library of Congress' Digital Collections

Click here for a video tutorial on "Searching in the Library of Congress' Digital Collections."

The Library of Congress' Digital Collections webpage is a starting point for searching for digitized materials from the Library of Congress.

A search in the main search box on this page will bring up a list of collections with materials relating to the term you searched on. You will have to go into each collection brought up and search again to find individual items related to your search term.

Because the Library of Congress' digitized collections are currently in transition, some collections will have an updated web presence and search page. Others, from the Library of Congress' American Memory collections (which are being absorbed into the Digital Collections site), still have a much older look. (The tutorial below includes an example of searching in one of the older American Memory collections). Look for the search options on each collection's homepage to know how to proceed. 

You can also try searching from the old American Memory site, but be aware that these collections are in the process of being migrated. The main starting point for digital collections in the Library of Congress is their Digital Collections homepage

You may find that you get few or even no results on particular topics. Not everything held by the Library of Congress has been digitized, and not every topic may be included in the Library's current digital collections. If you get stuck, brainstorm other search terms; if you get really stuck, try one of the other collections referred to on this page (GSU Digital Collections or the Digital Public Library of America). 

Video Tutorial: Searching in the Digital Public Library of America

Click here for a video tutorial on "Searching in the Digital Public Library of America."

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is a virtual library which brings together digitized primary sources from libraries, museums, and other institutions across America.

DPLA works with other institutions and digitization projects to help make digitized sources for US history available in one easy-to-search location. Major partners include (but are not limited to):

and a number of other regionally focused digital libraries (see fuller list of partners here) (Links are to DPLA's portal for each site).

However: the DPLA is not a comprehensive collection of ALL possible digitized sources, and does not link to all of the digitized primary sources in the United States. 

General Searching Strategies

Using specific terms (names, places, events, organizations) will help you focus your searching. Broader, more general terms may turn up more results, but you may need to spend more time sorting through those results.

  • Examples of general terms: women's rights; Prohibition
  • Examples of specific terms: Equal Rights Amendment; Alice Paul; Volstead Act, speakeasies

Be aware that all three of these sites will have limitations.

Digitized materials usually represent only a small percentage of materials held at a particular library or organization. Not every item in GSU's Special Collections or the Library of Congress has been digitized. 

Also, many times only a percentage of a particular collection (for example, GSU Special Collections' Southern Labor Archives) has been digitized. There are many other materials in the Southern Labor Archives which have NOT been digitized. 

The Digital Public Library of American (DPLA) is a virtual library and does not have collections of its own. DPLA links to digitized materials from libraries, museums, archives, and other institutions. But, it does not provide access to the complete holdings or even the complete digital holdings of every organization it includes. Additionally, it doesn't include materials from every library or similar organization in the United States.

Some topics will be better represented in some of these collections than others.

If you aren't finding what you need, try one of the other collections. Other strategies:

Brainstorm other keywords that might be relevant to your topic. Your background reading should help with this.

Once you start finding relevant sources, look at the detailed information about each source to see if there are keywords used that you can use for your own searching. Many collections assign subjects or subject terms which can help you find other materials on that same topic (i.e., subject).