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Recently Launched: CUL Digital Collections Portal

The Digital Collections Portal Team, consisting of staff from Digital Scholarship & Preservation Services (DSPS), CUL Information Technology (CULIT) and Library Technical Services (LTS), recently released the beta version of the new Digital Collections portal. The portal provides access to several digital collections, including those being migrated from DLXS to Hydra, as well as selected Cornell collections from Shared Shelf Commons. Features include faceted searching and browsing, a IIIF viewer for image zoom, a map interface for discovery of items with geolocation data, and image downloads.

The following collections are included in this beta release:


Alfredo Montalvo Bolivian Pamphlets Collection
A collection of 715 digitized pamphlets documenting a century of Bolivian literate culture, beginning in 1848. They show a nation’s struggle to establish viable institutions, to develop its economy, to educate its children and the back and forth of political argument.







Beyond the Taj: Architectural Images and Landscape Experience in South India
A collection of materials on South Asian architecture assembled over a 22 year period by Professor Robert D. “Scotty” MacDougall (1940-1987), an architect and an anthropologist. The core of this collection consists of approximately 3,000 photographs depicting significant works of architecture through time and across regional traditions throughout continental India.



Huntington Free Library Native American Collection
One of the largest collections of books and manuscripts of its kind, the Huntington collection contains extensive materials documenting the history, culture, languages, and arts of the native tribes of both North and South America. Contemporary politics and human rights issues are also important components of the collection.



John Reps Collection – Bastides
Cornell Professor Emeritus John Reps began to explore and photograph these newly founded towns of the 13th-century in 1951. This collection of images recording what he saw then and on 5 later visits document the appearance of these unusual examples of medieval urban design.




New York State Aerial Photographs
This collection presents a series of historical aerial photographs of the state of New York. It was produced under a Cornell University Library Faculty Grant to Eugenia M. Barnaba, Program Leader, Resource Inventory Cornell Institute for Resource Information Sciences.





Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection
This is a collection of “persuasive” cartography: maps intended primarily to influence the opinion of the viewer — to send a message — rather than to communicate geographic information. The collection reflects a variety of persuasive tools: allegorical, satirical and pictorial mapping; selective inclusion or exclusion; unusual projections, graphics and text; and intentional deception. Maps in the collection address a wide range of messages: religious, political, military, commercial, moral and social.



Ragamala Paintings
Cornell’s Rāgamālā collection consists of some 4000 photographs Klaus Ebeling took between 1967 and 1972 as he visited museums and private collections all over the world working on Ragamala Painting. Fifty years later the slides were gifted to Cornell, thanks to musicologist Joep Bor. The Ebeling collection is among the world’s great assemblages of images in this genre. There have been numerous subsequent studies of regional traditions of rāgamālā painting — Ebeling’s collection includes them all.



This month the team is undertaking an upgrade from Fedora 3 to Fedora 4. While this will result in a brief pause in collection ingest, it will also provide a forward-looking infrastructure for all of our collections in Hydra.

Thanks and appreciation go out to the Digital Collections Portal Team:

  • John Cline (CUL-IT)
  • Jennifer Colt, co-lead (DSPS)
  • Christina Harlow (LTS)
  • George Kozak (CUL-IT)
  • Mary Beth Martini-Lyons (DSPS)
  • Michelle Paolillo (DSPS)
  • Jim Reidy (CUL-IT)
  • Adam Smith, co-lead (CUL-IT)
  • Melissa Wallace (DSPS)

Special thanks also go to Steven Folsom, Hannah Marshall and Danielle Mericle for their past and ongoing support.

We look forward to growing the number of collections accessible through the Digital Collections portal, and invite you to send any feedback or questions to Jenn Colt ( and Adam Smith (


2 Responses to “ Recently Launched: CUL Digital Collections Portal ”

  • Joshua Young

    Hi Jenn and Adam.
    The new portal is great. It’s good to have this kind of object-level access to the collections.
    One point of feedback: it would be good to have some sort of link to “About the Collection” pages on the item records. Currently only the collection name is available as a browse/search tag–so that one can get all items in a collection–but meta-info about the collection is unavailable. I imagine you do not want to maintain separate splash pages for the collections, but maybe the contents of those pages could be made into records in the portal.
    Regards, Josh Young

  • Melissa Wallace

    Hi Josh – Thanks so much for your feedback. For some collections we do provide a link to an “About the Collection” page, which goes to a sort of splash page about the collection or, in some cases, a separate website (see the NY Aerial Photos or Persuasive Maps). However these are just links and don’t display the actual collection-level info on the item record. That said, we do have some plans for bringing “about the collection” information onto the item record itself, so your comment is very timely; it’s good to know others would find this useful. Best, Melissa