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Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives: Digital Collections

A guide to conducting archival research and exploring special collections at Connecticut College

What are digital collections

GLAMs (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) around the world digitize portions of their cultural heritage collections for several reasons:

1.  To preserve fragile and decaying documents for future generations

2.  To provide remote access to researchers who are unable to visit their institution in person

3.  To preserve born-digital collections subject to the changing landscape of technologies

However, digitization is just the first step in preserving these collections.  Digital Preservation ensures that collections are stable and accessible as technologies and storage systems develop and change.  Federal agencies have funded, and continue to fund, developments in technology and best practice towards this end. The Library of Congress National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (2000–2016) contributed enormously to scoping and understanding how to address both the technical and organizational work of digital preservation and developed the FADGI (Federal Agency Digital Guidelines Initiative) protocol to provide technical guidelines to government institutions, to help facilitate the long-term preservation of their digital collections.  These guidelines are the model used by GLAMs for preservation of their digital objects.

The links on this page direct you to small and large-scale digitized collections and represent local, state, and national efforts to digitize special collections materials.

Resources for Indigenous Collections


The Indigenous Digital Archive: History of U.S. Government Indian Boarding Schools in 19th and 20th Century.

American Indian Digital History Project: Digital History Cooperative founded to recover and preserve rare Indigenous newspapers, photographs, and archival materials from all across Native North America.

Native Northeast Research Collaborative: Inclusive digital humanities endeavor that engages tribes, scholars, educators, students, and the general public in the study of the Native presence in the Atlantic Northeast.

Eastern Pequot Records: Digitized colonial records related to the Eastern Pequot communities near New London and Eastern Connecticut.