The Digital Collections consist of over 80,000 documents, primarily relating to New York State.
There are three main collections:
Almost all of the documents in the Digital Collections are PDF files; however, you may occasionally encounter other formats such as text and audio files.
Archives Digital Collections: You can also access other digital materials collected by the NYS Office of Cultural Education (OCE), which includes the State Archives, Library, and Museum. This collection includes digitized photographs, manuscripts, and other material, mainly in jpg format. The majority of the items in this collection are from the NYS Archives, but it also includes hundreds of NYS Library images.
The Digital Collections can be accessed from any computer with a web browser and a PDF viewer such as Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Users have two options for accessing the documents:
Search: Enter your search term(s) in the query box on top of the page.
Some general search guidelines:
For information about advanced search strategies, see the Searching the Digital Collections Help Page.
Browse: Search is the default, but if you prefer to browse, you can click on the Browse tab (see screenshot at right), which allows you to find documents via the folders.
You can continue to drill down by clicking on each individual folder to browse its contents. At all times during browse, the browse folder hierarchy in which you are currently browsing appears beneath the blue bar at the top of the screen, similar to breadcrumbs on a webpage. If at any time you want to go back up to a previous browse level, just click on the folder name link in the browse folder hierarchy.
Note: A folder may contain both subfolders and individual documents.
Searching from within Browse is another option. If you are browsing a collection of documents and you decide that you want to conduct a search, simply type your search terms into the full text search box and click the Search button (the magnifying glass). A search will be executed within the context of the browse folder where you began the search.
If you are looking at the document in the embedded view, the document will open to the first page that has your search term, and depending on your PDF viewer, you may see your search terms highlighted. For example, the screenshot below shows one of the results for a search on "trilobites." When the user clicked on this particular document, it opened to page 14, where the searched word appears highlighted in yellow.
Scroll through the pages or select the search icon (see screenshot below) to find other pages featuring the searched word.
However, if you "detach" the PDF to open it in a separate window, your search word will no longer be highlighted in the document.
The default view for search results is Row format but you can change it to Column or Thumbnail format by clicking the icons on the top right of the page navigation bar. In any view, click on the title to see the full text resource.
Row Format (default):
The column format allows you to see more results on the screen. It is also useful if you want to sort the list in a different way: the default sort is by title, but you can click on a column heading to sort by that field instead.
The thumbnail format can be a useful way to view the result list when the thumbnails have distinctive graphic content, such as posters or maps.
After opening a document, you can view more information about it (metadata) by selecting the information icon. Click on the highlighted sections to view results related to the document in different levels of the search hierarchy.
Occasionally, you will see VP-1, VP-2, or the phrases "VIRTUAL-PART-1", "VIRTUAL-PART-2" ect., as part of a title. This means that a large document has been broken down into smaller units, to make it easier to view the documents over the Web. For example, a 1000-page document might be divided into five 200-page files. In other cases, images in a document may have been scanned separately because of size, color or resolution.
The content is not altered when a document is scanned in multiple parts.
The Print/Save icons are at the top of the document navigation bar as well as the page navigation bar; the latter gives you email options.
Be aware that larger PDFs may be slow to open, depending on your internet connection speed.
You cannot use your browser's Bookmark or Favorites function to save a link to one of our digital documents because we use a session-dependent, dynamic method to generate and open items in the Digital Collections. This means that the URL used to access documents is not persistent across time.
However, the metadata for most documents will include a field called "Permanent Link." You can copy the URL in that field if you want to save, cite or share a link to the document.
MyWare: If you set up a free MyWare account in Knowvation (the software we use to provide access to our Digital Collections), you can use the "Favorite Documents" feature to save documents you want to view again at a later date.
The Digital Collections provide access to select online material referenced in the Excelsior catalog. Through the Electronic Access tag, a link is made between the catalog record and the item managed in the Digital Collections. Our online catalog displays this tag and clicking on it will take you to the item. More detailed information and subject headings may be found in catalog records.
Every effort has been made to select and present material in the public domain, but some materials, including State Agency publications, may be protected by copyright laws.
The Office of Cultural Education, NYS Department of Education, is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other rights holders is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with the user.
If you have other questions about accessing documents in the Library's Digital Collections, please e-mail email@example.com.