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Research Guides

WRR312: Writing Literary Journalism

UofT Libraries - Resources for Primary Source Research

Digital Search Platforms (Public Libraries, Archives & More)

Online Platforms

Internet Archive

"The Internet Archive is an American digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge". It provides free public access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, software applications/games, music, movies/videos, moving images, and millions of books." (Wikipedia)


Public Libraries 

North America

Toronto Public Library - Digital Collections 

Search Page for all TPL Digital Collections.  


Digital Public Library of America 

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) pulls in digital records from archives, libraries and museums from across the United States. DPLA's collection is focused on freely available content that meet public domain and open access requirements. 


New York Public Library - Digital Collections 

The New York Public Library Digital Collections contains over 900,000 items and counting. While that is a small fraction of the Library's overall holdings, NYPL Digital Collections contains a diverse range of materials: books to videos, maps to manuscripts, illustrations to photos, and more.


Search Portals for Digital Collections (Archives, Cultural Institutions, etc.)

Library of Congress 

All LoC Digital Collections (sorted by Oldest Date first). 
  • Scroll through online collections containing digital copies of documents, images and videos


Calisphere - California Online Collections

Calisphere is a gateway to digital collections from California's great libraries, archives, and museums. Discover over 1,975,000 images, texts, and recordings—and counting.

  • View all collections discoverable via Calisphere 
  • Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection, Owning Institution: Los Angeles Public Library
    • "The Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection contains images from the 1850s to the present, documenting all aspects of life in Southern California, with an emphasis on Los Angeles."
  • Los Angeles Examiner Collection, 1920-1961, Owning Institution: University of Southern California Digital Library
    • "The Los Angeles Examiner Photographs Collection consists of approximately 1.4 million prints and negatives from the Los Angeles Examiner newspaper. It was a daily newspaper, published in the afternoon on weekdays (Herald-Express) and in the morning on weekends (Examiner). The afternoon and morning papers merged in 1962 (Herald Examiner)."
  • California Historical Society Collection, 1860-1960, Owning Institution: University of Southern California Digital Library
    • "The California Historical Society Collection is incomparable for the documentary picture it provides of the growth of Southern California, particularly the development of the Los Angeles region, between 1860 and 1960. The collection contains more than 25,000 photographs. The full archive was placed on long-term deposit at USC in 1990 and includes the Title Insurance and Trust Company Collection, also known as TICOR, and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Collection.


Cross-search DPLA and Europeana

  • Online app that allows users to simultaneously search the digital collections in the Digital Public Library of America and Europeana.


International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA)

  • Based at at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the ICAA holds over 8,000 Documents of 20th and 21st⁠-⁠century art in Latin America, the Caribbean, and among US Latino communities  
  • Documents of Latin American and Latino Art - Search ICAA Collection


The World Digital Library  

  • Launched in 2009, the World Digital Library (WDL) was a project of the U.S. Library of Congress, with the support of UNESCO, and contributions from libraries, archives, museums, educational institutions, and international organizations around the world. 
  • The materials collected by the WDL make it possible to discover, study, and enjoy cultural treasures and significant historical documents including books, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, journals, prints and photographs, sound recordings, and films. 

Museums - Digital Collections

Smithsonian - Digital Collections

Smithsonian Open Access - Media Search Platform

  • Check-off "Open Access Media" below the search toolbar to view digital content available to the public. 


National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC)

Screenshot of Smithsonian's Search Platform for Open Access Media -


Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collections  

This digital collection contains a complete run of Academy Awards ceremony programs, posters, and rules books, as well as selected photographs and ephemera from the library's extensive holdings.

  • Click on Advanced Search link beside the Search Button.
  • The default is to search all digital collections, but you can select specific collections by clicking on Add or remove collections (to the right o the search window). 
  • Be sure to limit your search result to the time period for your topic. Click on Search by Date under the advance search window and enter the time range.

Collections include: