About the Digital Collections

The purpose of the University of Oklahoma Libraries digital collections is to provide free online public access to high-resolution digital images of OU Libraries Special Collections materials in order to enhance scholarship, teaching, and community engagement. We further aim to promote use of the digital objects, their metadata, and the original objects.

Works currently available range from rare early printed books and manuscripts to large atlases and maps. Our emphasis is on complete digitization of the items; some items are represented by selected images only.

OU Libraries Special Collections

Harry W. Bass Business History Collection

Daniel J. and Ruth F. Boorstin Collection

Chinese Literature Translation Archive

History of Science Collections

John and Mary Nichols Rare Books and Special Collections

Western History Collections

Digital Collections Content

The primary source of digital collections content is digitization projects by OU Libraries Digitization Laboratory for OU Libraries special collections.

The majority of the current content of the digital collections was digitized in 2013-2015 in support of the Galileo’s World exhibition, primarily from the History of Science Collections. Some items were selected from the Bass Business History, Bizzell Bible, Nichols Rare Books, and Western History collections.

Future Content

In the near future we plan to add the Pleasant Porter Collection (in the Creek and Euchee Collections) and U.S. Civil War letters and diaries (comprising the Cress, Kroff, and Evans collections), all from OU Libraries’ Western History Collections.

Our content plan also includes a diverse array of content digitized by our special collections staff over many years that is not currently available online, and content migrated from our older digital collections.

While OU Libraries have been digitizing selections from its special collections and archives for many years, this represents a very small portion of our special collections.

Terms of Use

See the Terms of Use page for relevant information.

Digital Collections Platform


This digital collections platform consists of Fedora, Islandora, Solr, and the Internet Archive BookReader and OpenSeadragon viewers. We also use Amazon Web Services S3 storage in our workflow.


The current digital collections platform provides basic search and browse functionality; page-turner and image views; core descriptive metadata; access to item-level MARC21 (when available) and MODS XML files; UUIDs for persistent URLs; and metadata exposure as OAI-PMH.

Our plan for additional functionality includes improved rights and terms of use indicators; IIIF compatibility and support; improved search and browse; and access to high-resolution images.


The digital collections uses MODS schema for its descriptive metadata.

For special collections books and other cataloged works, the core descriptive metadata is exported from OU Libraries records in MARC21 format and transformed into MODS. For special collections manuscript collections, the core descriptive metadata is extracted from the finding aid documents; the collection-level descriptive metadata is exported in MARC21; and they are associated and transformed into MODS.

Our plan for additional metadata includes administrative and technical metadata extracted from master images, and some image-level descriptive metadata (when available).