So…Question: What Are Digital Collections?

January 31st, 2020 by Gina Murrell Leave a reply »

As the Digital Collections Librarian at Gleeson Library, a question I’m asked from time to time is: “What are digital collections?”

Digital collections are online collections that consist of content digitized from an institution’s unique physical holdings. These online collections are resources that support the continuous learning, instruction, and research needs of those affiliated with the institution, as well as any and all curious minds far and wide, whether these info seekers are in San Francisco, the state of California, in the United States, or across the globe. Because these collections are online, anyone with internet access can use these resources. Access to library digital collections, such as the Gleeson Library Digital Collections, are unrestricted and free. One does not have to be affiliated with the University of San Francisco to access this great digital resource.

Content found in digital collections has been digitized from its physical counterpart in the institution’s onsite collections. This digital content can include digitized newspapers (e.g., The Foghorn – USF Student Newspaper Collection), digitized yearbooks (the USF Yearbooks Collection), digitized rare books (the Rare Book Collection, sourced from Special Collections & University Archives), and digitized photos, such as those in the Japanese American Confinement Sites digital collection, a special collaboration between Gleeson Library and the National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS). Digitized content like that in Gleeson Library Digital Collections has significant historical, cultural, and educational importance.

Digitization of content for digital collections is ongoing, which means that a digital collection is a living database that is consistently added to, making the digital collection a dynamic and up-to-date online resource. Because the digitization of physical materials is ongoing, digital collections are routinely expanded upon and changing, bringing new and exciting content to users. For instance, The Foghorn student newspaper is routinely published and digitized, so the The Foghorn digital collection is refreshed with these new issues. The Rare Book Room always has breathtaking literary treasures to share beyond its physical space; hence, the Rare Book Collection features many one-of-a-kind books that users cannot always come in person to see.

Gleeson Library Digital Collections are a remarkable online resource that is comprised of individual digital collections that exist to meet instruction and research needs, and to satisfy the mind of any information seeker no matter where they are in the world. Each of the collections within Gleeson Library Digital Collections documents aspects of the University of San Francisco—its history; its faculty, staff, and student output; and its unique holdings—and in the case of the Japanese American Confinement Sites digital collection, the state of California and the United States as seen through the Japanese American experience during World War II. It is all free and completely accessible online in the way that only digital collections can be.

Take this opportunity to discover Gleeson Library Digital Collections today!


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