The Network of Idaho Academic Libraries has announced the release of the Digital Library of Idaho, a new discovery platform for digital collections from across the state.
The digital library features over 150 collections from academic libraries and governmental organizations across the state, including the University of Idaho, Boise State University, Idaho State University, the Idaho State Archives, the Idaho Transportation Department, and the Idaho Commission for Libraries.
The digital library provides access to a large variety of historical images, documents, and other media freely available to the public. Researchers can explore collections via subject matter, time period, material type, and location.
“The Digital Library of Idaho came together through statewide collaboration among several librarians and digital collection stewards,” said Devin Becker, digital library advisory board chair and head of data and digital services at the University of Idaho Library. “We wanted to create a resource for people to discover the wonderful collections that many of us are lucky to work with every day, and to create an organization dedicated to maintaining and improving the means of discovery going forward.”
The Digital Library of Idaho is the first initiative of the Network of Idaho Academic Libraries, which seeks to increase the statewide impact of higher education by facilitating and strengthening collaboration and communication among Idaho’s academic libraries. The digital library board is actively seeking other libraries and historical organizations to submit new collections for inclusion. Submission and contact forms can be found on the site’s About page.
“Many of these collections are integral to how we understand Idaho’s history and how Idaho’s history has been told. Having an engaging and centralized discovery platform for students, teachers, and citizens to discover these important stories and collections is an incredible boon for those interested in Idaho and its history,” said Cheryl Oestreicher, head of Special Collections and University Archive at Boise State.
This “collection of collections” was developed over the course of the 2020-2021 academic year by an advisory board drawn from Boise State University, Idaho State University, the Idaho Commission for Libraries, and the University of Idaho. Board members and their institutions have worked for its release for the betterment of the citizens of Idaho.
“The Digital Library of Idaho provides a streamlined access portal to some of Idaho’s most essential online cultural heritage collections, as well as records of the state’s business. I’m excited by the contribution the library will make to raising awareness of, and easing access to, these fascinating resources,” said Idaho Commission for Libraries Librarian Allison Floyd.
Ellen Ryan, head of Special Collections and University Archives, echoes these comments:
“The Eli M. Oboler Library at Idaho State University is excited to contribute and provide access to its collections through the Digital Library of Idaho where researchers across Idaho and beyond can cross-search digital collections that focus on the history of Idaho.”
Future advances on the project will incorporate a search index for all cultural heritage items available throughout the state. This and other enhancements will further help to prioritize and promote the collections.
About the Network of Idaho Academic Libraries: The network is an organization of the libraries of seven institutions of higher education in Idaho formed in 2021. The network leverages the spirit of cooperation inherent in Idaho’s academic library community with the goal of strengthening the library services and resources offered by Idaho’s institutions of higher education. Learn more at https://idahoacademiclibraries.org.