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UCLA Library's digital collections include rare and unique materials that span across different communities, histories, and disciplines. Use this resource to learn how to navigate the collections, evaluate their sources, and further your research. 

Aerial view of Dodger Stadium with downtown Los Angeles in background, 1985

The basics

What are digital collections?

Digital collections are websites that feature digitized or born-digital materials, often organizing them by date, location, and subcollections. These materials are often primary sources, or materials that were created during the time period under study that serve as evidence documenting that time period, an event, a topic, or people ("Guidelines for Primary Source Literacy"). 

Primary sources within digital collections can include historical newspapers, photographs, correspondence, maps, drawings, manuscripts, diaries, rare books, cellphone videos, posters, and audio recordings.

Why use digital collections?

Digital collections contain rare, ephemeral, and archival materials that can be hard to find elsewhere. Their holdings can help you learn about different communities, people, time periods, and subjects, and can further your research.

The physical originals for some of the materials we'll see in these digital collections are housed on campus at UCLA Library Special Collections, while others are housed at institutions throughout the world. You can request to view materials housed at UCLA in person. 

The modules

This website features three modules for exploring UCLA's digital collections. Each module will teach you different skills for understanding how to use digital collections and evaluate their materials.

Strategic Search

This module will teach you how to leverage the interface of digital collections to find items of interest. Structured as a scavenger hunt, you'll use different search techniques to find items. Get started >>

Points of View

Primary sources are created by people, carrying with them the worldview, expertise, and biases of their creators. This module will teach you how to interrogate and evaluate primary sources. Get started >>

Presence and Absence

Like libraries, archives, and museums, digital collections contain records that document and preserve cultural histories. This module will ask you to think of whose voices are present, and whose are missing. Get started >>

Exploration & Inquiry was created as part of the Digital Resource Development Initiative, sponsored by UCLA Department of Information Studies
Photographs are from the Los Angeles Times Photographs Collection and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License