Meet the Hubs!: Minnesota Digital Library

Meet the Hubs!: Minnesota Digital Library

Posted by Carly B. Boxer on January 23, 2013 in Blog, Featured.
This is the second post in a weekly series highlighting the DPLA’s service hubs

The Minnesota Digital Library began in 2004 with the Minnesota Reflections project, a digitization effort that, over the past eight years, has grown to encompass some 150 historic and cultural organizations state-wide. Minnesota Reflections now consists of over 135,000 images and documents organized by the collections from which they originated, ranging from individual county historical societies to the archives of the Minnesota Streetcar Museum. The MDL’s collections also include regional organizations in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

In addition to hosting these collections online, the MDL seeks to empower smaller organizations through its digitization services. The MDL has worked to establish a comprehensive community outreach program in order to recruit content for its digital collections by helping local organizations achieve their own digitization goals. The MDL’s website offers tutorials on creating an entering metadata to assist smaller organizations in effectively organizing and maintaining digital content. The MDL also runs preservation programs aimed at ensuring future access to its digital resources for all Minnesotans.

The items in the MDL’s collections are wide-ranging, and help provide a broad look at Minnesota’s history and geography. Minnesota Reflections now includes a collection of historical newspapers reaching as far back as the 1870s. The Minnesota Streetcar Museum’s archive, meanwhile, includes 10,000 photographs of the history of streetcars in Minnesota, and many of the photos are available through the MDL. (The museum also currently operates two restored streetcar lines in Minneapolis!)

Minnesota Reflections contains plenty of really interesting images. Among my favorites are an 1886 image from the Minnesota Historical Society  and another 1937 photo from the Hennepin History Museum of Ice Palaces from the of the St. Paul Winter Carnival. The  collection from the Minnesota Museum of Mining includes a series of photographs of the steps involved in lowering a mule into a mine from 1908. The black and white photos illustrate an early moment in the state’s history, and an aspect of early mining I had never so much as thought about before seeing the photos. I really enjoyed finding regionally specific images like the ice palace, and encourage you to take a look through the MDL’s collections to see what other treasures you might find!

Image courtesy of Mulad on Flickr; used under a CC BY 2.0 license.

Leave a Reply