Digital Public Library of America Collaboration

Sharing Minnesota's Story with America

The Minnesota Digital Library is collaborating with the Digital Public Library of America to increase online access to the collections held by cultural organizations across the state. By working together on this national initiative, we offer users access to millions of items—photographs, maps, manuscripts, audio-visual materials, and more—from libraries, archives, and museums across Minnesota and the United States.

Data Aggregation

As a DPLA service hub, the MDL is required to help bring digital libraries from organizations across Minnesota into the DPLA. To date, our efforts to provide access to our Minnesota Reflections database has resulted in the onboarding of over 160 Minnesota cultural organizations into the DPLA aggregated discovery service. In order to broaden our participation within the DPLA, MDL has agreed to broker and share with DPLA the following collections not currently available through the Minnesota Reflections digital library.


The MDL is working with these contributing organizations to digitize the following collections of distinction.

  • Immigrant Stories (Immigration History Research Center)
    This project seeks to capture new stories from members of Minnesota's immigrant community. This collection of immigrant stories will ultimately be incorporated into our Minnesota's Immigrants website.
  • Hmong Oral History Project (Center for Hmong Studies, Concordia University, St. Paul)
    This new digitization effort will capture 10-12 oral histories from prominent members of the Hmong immigrant community. Additionally, these interviews will be used to help create a documentary video highlighting the Hmong experience in Minnesota.
  • Northern Lights: A look at Minnesota Books and Writers (Minnesota Historical Society)
    Originally produced through a collaboration between Metronet, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and the Hennepin County Library. This series, which ran from 1988-2002 on Metro Cable Channel 6, includes interviews with over 400 authors, artists, publishers, and other prominent members of the literary community.
  • Immigrant Oral Histories (Immigration History Research Center Archives)
    Digitization of previously captured oral histories documenting Minnesota's Italian and Greek communities.
  • Burroughs Corporation Film and Video (Charles Babbage Institute)
    Ranging in date from 1957-1989, this collection contains the video tapes and films produced for the Burroughs Corporation (later Unisys Corporation) on specific computers and technical demonstrations, product commercials and advertising, as well as stockholder's meetings.
  • William Gray Purcell Audio Recordings (Northwest Architectural Archives)
    These recordings (produced on Soundscriber disks) contain many statements by William Gray Purcell, one of the 20th century's leading architects, on topics such as art, architecture, and events from his lifetime, as well as poetry, personal communications, and discussions with his contemporaries. These recordings became the principal means by which Purcell produced his correspondence and manuscripts.


The MDL is collaborating with cultural organizations across the state to capture and expose the myriad stories of the citizens who make up this great state and call Minnesota home.

Minnesota has a long tradition of immigration to the state. The Ojibwe and Dakota people, the largest American Indian tribes living in Minnesota in the early and mid-19th century, were joined by an influx of European emigres settling in Minnesota in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Immigration continues today, more recently with the Hmong, Somali, Korean, and Latino entrants to the state. In sharing these immigrant stories, told through their own voices, the MDL seeks to share with the world a broader view of what it means to be Minnesotan.

The MDL is gathering and digitizing existing oral histories from organizations across the state. These existing materials will be coupled with newly created or emerging stories that best document the rich tradition of immigration to this state. A final web portal will weave together the audio, video, and images gathered into a single space where these stories will be gathered, saved, and shared in an openly and freely accessible manner.

In order to accomplish this work, the MDL is collaborating with the following organizations:


Jason Roy
Director, Digital Library Services
University of Minnesota Libraries
223 Elmer L. Andersen Library
222 21st Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Phone: 612-625-0028

Project Sponsors

Digital Public Library of America logo.
National Endowment for the Humanities logo.
Knight Foundation logo.