Digital Library & Archives

This week, we are excited to launch the newly redesigned Digital Library & Archives website, which was previously called the Digital Collections. Over the past two years, the Digital Collections Committee at NEHGS worked to customize and redesign the Digital Library & Archives for a cleaner appearance and with new user-friendly features. The Digital Library & Archives brings together digitized resources from the three repositories at American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society: the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center, the R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, and the Research Library. The Digital Library & Archives invites genealogists, historians, scholars, educators, and other members of the public to find and utilize digitized resources from American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Currently, the Digital Library & Archives contains over 780,000 digitized pages of books and archival records that users can search and browse. Within the Digital Library & Archives, users can search across all collections or focus on just one. Each repository has a landing page that features that repository’s digitized resources. These resources consist of published and unpublished materials such as letters, diaries, photographs, newspapers, genealogies, city directories, business records, religious organization records, community records, and much more.

Visitors to the Digital Library & Archives can virtually flip through these unique books and archival materials to research a range of topics…

Most of the digitized archival resources in the Digital Library & Archives can only be found in the repositories at NEHGS, and no other institutions hold copies. Visitors to the Digital Library & Archives can virtually flip through these unique books and archival materials to research a range of topics from local histories and the raw materials of historical events, thus linking the larger world to their own family history. The Digital Library & Archives has browsable images as well as some resources with searchable full-text transcriptions. It is important to note that the Digital Library & Archives is not indexed as a genealogical database with defined genealogy-focused search fields. Since there are various record types in the Digital Library & Archives, the site accommodates our users with different research needs and focuses, whether the user is a genealogist, an educator, or a historian.

The redesigned Digital Library & Archives features a new Search Tips guide to help users learn how best to search the site, whether they use the general search or the advanced search. Also, users can find new ways to browse the digitized materials. This includes new pages for browsing by repository, subject, format (from diaries to photographs), date of creation, and access types (to find materials that are open access or restricted to members). Research and Contributing Members have access to all digitized resources on the Digital Library & Archives. Several collections are open access and available for free to the public. For users who wish to access only materials in the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center, please email jhcreference@nehgs.org to learn about setting-up access.

Explore the wide array of Digital Library & Archives resources by visiting Digital.AmericanAncestors.org! We welcome your feedback and questions. Please email them to DigitalAccess@nehgs.org.

Brittany Contratto

About Brittany Contratto

Brittany Contratto was the Digital Projects Archivist for the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society until 2020. She managed the Center’s digital projects, its social media, and its digitization efforts. Brittany received a B.S. in Historic Preservation with a Museum and Archives concentration and minors in Archaeology and Anthropology from Southeast Missouri State University. She earned her M.A. in Historical Administration from Eastern Illinois University and her M.S. in Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archives Management from Simmons University.

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