MDL News

September 14, 2015

Two new online exhibitions have premiered as part of the final phase of the Public Library Partnership Project (PLPP). These collections were built as a collaborative project with the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) using material digitized through the PLPP, as well as other Minnesota Reflections and DPLA content.

September 8, 2015

We are now accepting applications to become part of Minnesota Reflections in Phase 12! As always, we welcome content for Minnesota Reflections on a wide range of topics, as long as the subject matter is about, in, or of Minnesota. We accept many different types of items as well, so there is a good chance you have materials in your collection that would be a good fit.

Please contact Molly Huber, MDL Outreach Coordinator, at or 612-301-1329/800-462-5348 to discuss the possibilities. Application forms are available online or by contacting the Outreach Coordinator. We will accept applications until our money for this phase is fully allocated or until May 31, 2016, whichever comes first. We look forward to hearing from you!

July 2, 2015

150 staff from libraries and cultural heritage organizations attended the Minnesota Digital Library's 13th Annual Meeting on June 15, 2015. Keynote speaker Natalie Milbrodt (Queens Library) kicked the day off with her presentation titled "Democratizing the Archives: Engaging the expertise of communities we serve to enrich our collections." An MDL update followed, which included a concise recap of the activities of the MDL over the past year and future activities. Here's a sample of the activity reported during the MDL Update session:

  • 169: Total Collections in Minnesota Reflections
  • 11: New contributing organizations contributing to Minnesota Reflections this year
  • 34: New projects accepted in Phase 11
  • 229,572 Total digitized items in Minnesota Reflections
  • 468,518: Total MDL digitized objects in DPLA

Want to hear more? Visit the annual meetings page to access video recordings of the keynote presentation and the Minnesota Digital Library update session. Presenter handouts have also been posted.

May 14, 2015

Come for the Storymobile

Storymobile.Saint Paul Almanac's Storymobile, driven by artists on a tandem bicycle, is a hand-built art space on wheels that's solar-powered and decked out with iPads, microphones, and amps, as well as traditional writing implements and paper. The Storymobile visits street festivals, block parties, and community centers as a roving story collector, poetry reading, and instant open mic, offering new technology and fresh artistic antics married with the old idea of amanuensis: helping people document their stories.

Saint Paul Almanac Executive Director Kimberly Nightingale and Storymobile manager Melvin Giles will talk about the Storymobile project at the "Community Engagement Projects in Minnesota" break-out session, but you can check out the Storymobile yourself anytime during the afternoon! (12:30 - 3:30)

Stay for the Ice Cream

The annual meeting program officially ends at 3:15, but stick around for ice cream with your colleagues from 3:15 - 4:00 PM.

Learn more about the MDL 13th Annual Meeting.

May 11, 2015

Additional 426,000 items provided by seven Minnesota institutions.

The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), the nation’s premier online digital library, has collaborated with the Minnesota Digital Library (MDL) at the University of Minnesota to complete a tenfold increase in the number of digital items from Minnesota available on its website, This collaboration presents Minnesota culture and history to the world through high-quality scans of photographs, original manuscripts, videos, artwork, maps, and more. The 426,000 new items come from the collections of seven prominent Minnesota institutions:

  • Minnesota Historical Society
  • Minnesota Public Radio
  • College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University
  • Minneapolis Institute of Arts
  • Carleton College
  • Northfield History Collaborative
  • University of Minnesota Libraries

"We are incredibly excited to be part of this groundbreaking effort to bring together collections from across the country into a single, searchable portal," said Jennifer Jones, the Minnesota Historical Society's Library and Collections Director. "This is a wonderful opportunity to make the cultural heritage of Minnesota available to a wider audience."

When a visitor searches DPLA's website for this content, the site delivers results using data aggregated by MDL and directs the visitor to the host institution’s website to view the actual digital item. John Butler, the University of Minnesota Libraries' head of Data and Technology, added, "The Minnesota Digital Library's rich collaboration with the DPLA has now enabled the cultural treasures from the smallest and the largest of Minnesota organizations to have a digital presence on the national and international stage. It is a wonderful opportunity to connect Minnesota to the global community."

This work is made possible through the generous funding of the Digital Public Library of America Digital Hubs Pilot, which is supported by the Digital Public Library of America with funding provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.