While many public libraries struggle to offer eBooks and other electronic resources to their patrons in light of continually shrinking budgets, academic libraries on many colleges and universities have had a little bit better circumstances, pushing ahead with eBook  and electronic textbook offerings to their staff and students.

An additional popular offering that can be found are digital books, magazines, and pamphlets on many diverse resources.  These projects, while built around differing content manangement systems, very often offer tremendous reading opportunities and a break from the typical bestseller.  Mostly in PDF format, these resources are easily searched and can be downloaded quickly to your reading device of choice.

The first great example of this is the Southern Methodist University offering of governmental publications from World War II.  With over 340 items catalogued and searchable, you will find titles such as “A Pocket Guide To Hawaii” and “Defense Housing,”  among others.  Besides the titles, the associated bibliographic data (meta-data) is quite extensive and hotlinked for easy access to other titles or subjects you might be looking for.

Besides the titles mentioned above, while I was searching the site I was happy to find several of the “pocket guides” series.  Issued to soldiers during World War II, these slim guides served as a quick introduction to the country the soldier would soon be disembarking on.  For many of them, this would serve as their only introduction before combat.  Consisting of bits of history, culture and other topics relevant to soldier’s needs, these guides also serve as a great historical marker.  Granted, these resources will probably never crack the best seller list, but if you’re a history buff or looking for resources for your next paper or book, then this is the site for you.  Located in their digital collections here, it’s a great place to get started looking!

I also don’t want to forget another great resource as well:  The University of Chicago Libraries Digital Activities & Collections.  Containing an amazing amount of resources, not all of them books, you will soon find many interesting subjects to read.  Broken down by topic, I was quickly able to download titles relating to the 1933-34 World’s Fair as well as great selection of interesting titles from the Near East.  You can find that link here.  For the technical parts, try this link for background information on how they used the technology to make these resources available.

So if you have a few moments, take a look.  Have you had a chance to look at similar digital exhibits?  Do you have any other digital resources that you use on a consistent basis?  Let us know in the comments below.


Southern Methodist University Digital Collections

University of Chicago Libraries:  Digital Activities & Collections


Image from SMU Digital Collections (Link Above)


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