Overview

We want to help you get the most out of the Digital Library whether you require the use of assistive technologies or not. This site has been tested for conformance to a number of accessibility standards and we are committed to making improvements in places where we sometimes fall short. For your convenience, this page describes this site's content, structure, and features, and it notes areas of potential problems.

Getting Help

If you need help from a person try the following options:

Site Structure

The organization of this site is as follows:

  • Top Level Pages: This page, the home page, information about site statistics, a visual site tour, and technical information about our APIs.
  • Pages for Browsing: Explore our content by collections, partners, locations, dates, subjects, resource types, and titles.
  • Search: We offer several specialized search forms that can help construct a query. Results are presented in lists of 25 items per page, with the ability to filter results by fields such as resource type, dates, collections, etc.
  • Items: Several hundred-thousand digitized items. A fuller description of the organization of items is provided below.

Page Structure

Most pages on this site follow a consistent organizational pattern:

  • A header containing site-wide navigation links and a search form.
  • A main section featuring breadcrumb navigation, page or section title, and the primary content of the page.
  • A sidebar including navigation or tools relevant to the current item or section of the site.
  • A footer displaying additional resources, related links, and contact information.

We have made an effort to include code that notes page landmarks, and the role individual elements play within a page, while also providing clear labels for controls and descriptions of the content we provide. To the best of our ability we have attempted to make the site navigable using only the keyboard, though we are always seeking to improve this experience for you.

Item Content

Most of the Digital Library's content is presented as images. These are derived from scanned historical documents, photographs, newspapers, maps, etc. Many images contain handwritten or typed text in varying styles and weight. Digitized images may be in either color or black and white and clarity varies widely. We also offer other material types such as downloadable files, audio recordings, and videos. To the best of our ability, we have provided several ways for you to view, read, browse, and search for content.

Item Organization and Features

Items follow predictable patterns of organization:

  • All items have an overview page that provides descriptions, facts about the object and its relationships to other items on the site. Overviews typically contain one or more thumbnail images representing the item as well.
  • Multi-sequenced items such as newspapers provide a large image at a unique URL for each sequence or page within the item. Pagination tools are provided to move between pages.
  • Images that represent content with text may be searchable. When this is the case, we include a search form on the overview page, in the object's sidebar, and a set of results pages limited to the current object. When viewing a page or sequence that contains your search terms we attempt to highlight those terms on the images by overlaying a yellow box. The color of this overlay can be changed.
  • All items contain a utility page to help with citing or sharing the item, as well as providing information about rights and responsibilities of use.
  • Many pages include buttons for printing and sharing through email or social media.
  • Most image-based items include a full screen magnification tool which allows you to zoom in on the finest details.
  • Audio and video items provide a page with an inline player that works with most modern browsers.
  • Prompts are provided to allow you to download PDF documents (where they exist), items with other file types (like Microsoft Excel files), and several generated sizes of images.

Text Alternatives

This site contains images, audio, video, and several other file types including PDF documents. Where possible we have attempted to provide textual equivalents, but doing so is not always possible. Note the following:

  • Images derived from text-based sources (like newspapers, books, etc.) will often include a link to the automatically extracted text derived from optical character recognition software. The quality of this text will vary depending on the clarity of the original item.
  • PDF Documents are provided to us as/is by our partners. Some may include accessibility-related features, others may not.
  • At the present time we do not provide captions for audio or video recordings. This is a known problem we hope to address in the near future.
  • Though limited in number, some videos do have related scripts that may contain a transcript of the spoken dialog. When present, we link these related items from the overview page and below the video player.

Colorblindness and Color Deficiencies

This site has been tested using several tools that emulate common color deficiencies in the browser, however, scanned images may be difficult to view for a variety of reasons that are out of our control. If you are using one of the newest browsers available, we provide an experimental set of tools that allow you to adjust color, contrast, etc. These tools are available from the utilities menu of image pages.