Summer 2008

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Digital Collection Initiative New York State Library

Summer 2008 issue of Trustee

Digitization is the wave of the future and establishing standards and best practices is essential. The Regents Advisory Council on Libraries is working with the New York State Library, the New York State Archives and other partners across the state to transform excellent local and regional digitization projects into a statewide collaborative effort to achieve just that. The Regents Advisory Council along with project partners presented a proposal for a New York Digital Collection Initiative to the Regents Cultural Education Committee at the May Regents meeting.

 The New York Digital Collection Initiative promotes the digitization efforts of New York’s libraries, archives, historical societies, museums, public broadcasting stations and other organizations. It would help them to effectively digitize, preserve and share culturally important documents and other significant artifacts within a flexible and collaborative framework supporting multiple formats such as text, graphics and video. The Digital Collection would also incorporate commercial digital resources, such as those currently provided by NOVELNY, the pilot project for a Statewide Internet Library.       

The initiative would make the digital collections of major research institutions as well as those of local cultural institutions and other smaller organizations accessible to all New Yorkers through a user-friendly Web portal. The Initiative would also support the long-term preservation of New York’s unique digital collections for future generations.

Librarians, archivists, local historians and others will benefit from high-quality consultation services, training, standards, best practices, and in a later phase, State grants for adding new digital content. The Initiative is a collaborative venture of the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, the Association of Public Broadcasting Stations of New York (ABPSNY), the Museum Association of New York (MANY), and the State Historical Records Advisory Board (SHRAB).
More information on The New York Digital Collection Initiative can be found online at

Digital Collections Available

The American Library Association has designated the digital resource of The Sir William Johnson Papers as a "Notable Government Document." The Papers represent just one of the over 65,000 documents that the New York State Library has in digital format. Johnson served from 1755 to 1774 as the British Superintendent of Indian Affairs for New York and was also a military leader during the French and Indian War. These papers focus on intercultural relations and diplomatic endeavors among the British, French and Iroquois nations that Johnson was involved with.

The digitized version recreates a 14-volume set of papers that were originally published from 1921-1965. With the addition of these Papers the New York State Library has over two million pages worth of digitized documents relating to New York State. For more information go to

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