The Mountain West Digital Library is a central search portal for digital collections about the Mountain West region. We provide free access to over 700,000 resources from universities, colleges, public libraries, museums, historical societies, and government agencies, counties, and municipalities in Utah, Nevada, and other parts of the U.S. West.Of course there are some truly gigantic collections such as the National Library of Australia's Trove website with over 338 million online resources and Europeana.eu with millions more. The amount of online content is overwhelming. Here are a just few of the hundreds of portals coming online:
The African Online Digital Library (AODL) is a portal to multimedia collections about Africa. MATRIX, working in cooperation with the African Studies Center at Michigan State University, is partnering with universities and cultural heritage organizations in Africa to build this resource. Plans are underway to add digital tools in order to enable scholars to work with and add to these materials.
The British Library Online Gallery has over 30,000 items from their collections including hundreds of historical maps.
British History Online is a digital library containing some of the core printed primary and secondary sources for the medieval and modern history of the British Isles. Created by the Institute of Historical Research and the History of Parliament Trust, it aims to support academic and personal users around the world in their learning, teaching and research.
The Cornell University Library, Windows on the Past, is an extensive aggregate of the University's online collections.
We even have local digital library portals such as the Greater Phoenix Digital Library. It is likely that there is a digital library portal in existence or being started in your own area. Do a Google search on "digital library" and include your local city or county name. For example, searching in Utah, I find the Pioneer, Utah's Online Library.
Right now, the digital library concept is evolving rapidly. There are online services with different methods of logging in, subscribing, or checking out books online. One of the most used services is OverDrive.com. With more than 1,000,000 titles from 1,000+ publishers, OverDrive claims to host the largest digital library catalog of eBooks, audiobooks, music and video in the world. But OpenLibrary.org also makes the same claim. But whatever, there are more and more books and materials coming online every day.
Unfortunately for the user, the different services all have a complicated set of use restrictions and methods for viewing or checking out materials. It may take you some time to figure out how to use some of these services. We recently found ourselves driving back and forth to Utah and discovered that we could download audio books from our local library to listen as we drove. If we ran out of books, we could check the one's read back into the library and check out more, even while we were in Utah.