SDPL Digital Archive
The San Diego Public Library offers patrons and users access to our Digital Archive collections online. The Digital Archive allows you to explore digital images of early San Diego libraries, staff and collections; view early maps of San Diego, and more. This web page provides a brief introduction on how to access, search for, view, and enjoy our Digital Archive collections.
Access to SDPL Digital Archive
Screen Image, SDPL Digital Archive, Online Collections
Access to the SDPL Digital Archive is provided via a link and graphic image on the Library Web site home page. Above is a screen image of the Digital Archive home page.
General Information - SDPL Digital Archive
The SDPL Digital Archive is part of the San Diego Public Library. It is our online special collections of digital documents, maps, photographs, and other materials. These materials are arranged in various collections, each with a unique name and topical coverage area.
Our Digital Archive provides online access to images of a selection of materials in our collections that have been digitized and loaded online for public access and use.
In general, the materials selected for inclusion in the SDPL Digital Archive are not considered public domain and are covered under U.S. copyright laws unless otherwise noted. For more information, please see our Digital Archive: Copyright and Conditions of Use page.
Individual bibliographic records for the digital materials in the Digital Archive will be added at a later time to our Library Catalog.
Help with the SDPL Digital Archive
If you need further help, please contact Library staff at any library location. If you are at home or using the service remotely, and are having technical problems connecting or using the service, please call our remote user Technical Support line, 619-236-5885, for assistance.
Browsing the SDPL Digital Archive
There are several ways provided to use the Browse feature in our Digital Archive. For information and explanations on how to browse, click on the "Browse" tab above the Search Panel. Much of the material which can be browsed is arranged in a structured way which allows Library patrons and researchers to narrow in on specific sets of documents, images, and finding aids.
To begin, pick the heading "Browse All Documents". This structure emulates online the actual physical arrangement of the collection. Once the browse has narrowed to a specific document description, the selection of the item title will yield the image of the document or image requested.
We use a default display of thumbnail images of photographs and artifacts. If you wish to see a larger version of a particular image, simply click on the selected thumbnail version.
Another option, once a set of digitized material has been identified by browsing to a certain level, that specific set of material can then be searched using the methods outlined on the "Search" page.
At this time, there are four collections listed for browsing: Documents Collection; Images Collection; Maps Collection; and, Photos Collection. The collections listing will change, as new collection are created and brought online.
Searching the SDPL Digital Archive
Users may find materials in the Digital Archive by browsing or searching.
To search, enter words or phrases you would like to search for under the heading "Search For" for a full-text search. The default "Pattern" search is a type of keyword search, and that search finds the search term and terms close in spelling. It does not require an exact match. Results will be displayed in rank order by most relevant listed first.
Instead of the Pattern Search, you can use the drop-down menu to choose "Concept" searches, which use thesauri to look for relationships, or "Boolean" searches, (AND, OR, etc.) which requires an exact match.
You can also use the targeted search boxes provided, for specific types of field searching. Fields that can be searched directly include: title, authors; abstract; physical description; date created; subjects; and, time period (menu). Searches in these sections will be for exact matches of terms used in the categories shown. You may also enter terms in the Search Panel in combination with this kind of focused search.
Search Results from the SDPL Digital Archive
The results of your search will generally be links to specific digitized documents, shown as thumbnails and brief descriptions. You will see a results page with a list of what has been found, generally in a column format. See below example in a screen shot:
Screen Image, SDPL Digital Archive, Search Results ("library")
Click on the item on the results page to display it to your browser or screen. Calling up specific documents gets a display of the first page of the document which has your information. You can use the "Show Metadata" link to see all the objects’ descriptive metadata.
Searches done within the Search Panel will highlight terms searched. You can also use the Preferences option to limit searches and results to specific kinds of documents. To select and changes these options, see the display pull-down menu on the Preferences page. Note: To return to the overview introduction page at anytime, please select the "Search" item in the left-hand menu.
Copyright and Use of the Images?
Our images are not considered to be in the public domain and are covered under U.S. copyright laws, unless otherwise noted. For more information, please see our San Diego Public Library, Digital Archive: Copyright and Conditions of Use page for more information.
Need more help with the SDPL Digital Archive?
For specialized help in using or searching the Digital Archive, please access the Help instructions online.
Other Digital Libraries?
There are now literally thousands of digital libraries online – from libraries, museums, institutions, and other groups. Use a Web search engine to browse links to online digital library sites. Two (2) good examples on online digital libraries are the New York Public Library’s Digital Collections and Berkeley’s Digital Library SUNSITE Collections.
Currency: Updated with new digital objects regularly
Coverage: Special Collections and other materials from SDPL
Vendor: PTFS, Inc.