Connecticut Digital Archive to Expand 19th Century Handwritten Text Recognition

19th century handwritten documents are essential for researchers but are widely inaccessible even after digitization due to their inability to be searched. The Connecticut Digital Archive, a project of the UConn Library, is working to change that with a Catalyst Fund grant recently awarded by LYRASIS.

Documents like this one from the CT Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home are unrecognizable through OCR. The CT Soldiers’ Orphans’ Home provided housing, schooling, and religious training to some two hundred or more orphans of Connecticut men who lost their lives in the Civil War. Image from October 29, 1866 provided by the UConn Library Archives & Special Collections through the CT Digital Archive.

Archives and special collections from across Connecticut fill the Connecticut Digital Archive (CTDA), providing online access to a treasure of historic materials. However, even digitized, the irregularity in the handwriting in many of the manuscripts leaves the historical information in these documents inaccessible to Optical Character Recognition (OCR), a transfer method that has been used for more than 20 years to assist in document discoverability. To address this, historians and computer scientists have worked to apply machine learning to handwriting text recognition (HTR) through a relatively small number of projects with varied techniques and varied success. 

In the summer of 2019, the Library, in partnership with Greenhouse Studios, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and UConn School of Engineering, created a set of over 16,000 images of 22 different characters from the John Quincy Adams Papers. These characters were used to train a neural network, or a set of algorithms modeled loosely after the human brain, designed to recognize patterns in those images. The neural network takes these handwritten digits, known as training examples, and develops a system to learn from them. As you increase the examples, the network learns more and improves its accuracy in identifying the individual letters and words. The pilot project over the summer produced promising results, with an 86%+ accuracy rate when testing on all 22 characters and an amazing 96%+ accuracy rate when testing on four of the characters.

Student Matthew Mulhall working in the Greenhouse Studios on developing a neural network to identify handwritten characters.
Student Matthew Mulhall working in the Greenhouse Studios on developing a neural network to identify handwritten characters.

“Historical manuscripts are essential for humanities research and these funds will help scholars engage with unique and distinctive collections in a way they couldn’t before,” noted Greg Colati, Assistant University Librarian for University Archives, Special Collections & Digital Curation for the UConn Library.

The grant funds from LYRASIS will allow the Library and the Computer Science & Engineering Department in the School of Engineering to expand this work on additional volumes of handwritten documents in the John Adams Papers. The goal is to expand the datasets, adjust the neural networks, and release the updated version to the public for free.

LYRASIS is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support enduring access to the world’s shared academic, scientific and cultural heritage through leadership in open technologies, content services, digital solutions and collaboration with archives, libraries, museums and knowledge communities worldwide. The grant is part of their Catalyst Fund which provides support for new ideas and innovative projects that explore, test, refine and collaborate on innovations with community-wide impact.

The CTDA is a service of the UConn Library, providing services to preserve and make available digital assets related to Connecticut and created by Connecticut-based, not-for-profit educational, cultural, and historical institutions, including libraries, archives, galleries, and museums.

Limited onsite services starting on August 31

Our guiding principle is to support students and faculty while protecting the health of our community and our staff are providing online services while physical locations are closed. As we continue to be flexible and in constant review of what is possible for the coming fall semester, we plan to begin offering limited onsite services starting on August 31.

While there is currently extensive access to materials and research support available digitally, we will enhance these offerings by adding curbside pickup of physical materials at HBL in Storrs, and at each of the Regional Library locations. The hours available for pickup and the specific mechanisms for “curbside” offerings are still to be determined.  We will also support access to physical materials that are not currently available online through digitization when possible, particularly of Archives & Special Collections materials. Physical library locations will only be open to retrieve paged materials, or return items, and for pick-up of print jobs as well as very limited computer usage for those that do not have their own devices.  At HBL there will be scheduled courses in rooms on the Plaza and First level, and traffic will be directed to be uni-directional to maintain social distancing. Outside of scheduled courses, the library will be unavailable for study, group work, or as an indoor gathering space.

This is the Phase 2, later phases will allow for more activity in the building and advancement to later stages will be determined following guidance from the CDC, the State of Connecticut, and the University, as well as availability of cleaning supplies, PPE, and staff for onsite work.  All Library locations funded and staffed by UConn Library will fall under this centralized planning, including all Regional Campus Libraries, this does not include the Lyman Maynard Stowe Health Sciences Library or the Thomas J. Meskill Law Library.

Please stay tuned as we work out the details around our August 31st opening at lib.uconn.edu/about/covid-19. The latest official guidance and updates on UConn’s response to COVID-19 and its impact on the university community is being provided in real time at https://uconn.edu/public-notification/coronavirus/.

Brinley R. Franklin – December 19, 1950-March 5, 2020

Brinley Franklin. Photo by Peter Morenus

It’s with great sadness we share the news of the passing of Vice Provost Emeritus Brinley Franklin. When Brinley began his career at UConn in 1990, the Homer Babbidge Library was precariously wrapped in plastic but over the course of his 23 years he lead us through a transformational time in academic libraries by fostering innovation and collaboration. Often quiet and contemplative, he had a thirst for knowledge and a smile that was infectious. A numbers guy at heart, none of the spreadsheets or his trusty mechanical pencil as described by the memorial his family shared below, were ever more important to him than the people that worked for him.

Brinley R. Franklin (b. December 19, 1950 Washington DC- d. March 5, 2020, Bristol, RI) 69, passed peacefully on Wednesday, March 5, 2020, at his home in Bristol, RI surrounded by his wife and children.

Brinley, known as Brin to his friends and family, was a devoted husband, father, and friend whose love for music, modern art, and travel poured into everything he did. A research librarian to his core, he spent his life in a constant state of awe about all that the world had to offer. He looked ahead and welcomed new people and ideas with fascination. He traveled extensively, spending time on every continent except Antarctica. He was never not listening to music and found great pleasure in attending rock concerts near and far and in collecting albums and photographs of rock musicians. He also attended countless sporting events from college basketball to the U.S. Open. Brin loved a competitive tennis match with his buddies and was always trying to improve his game. He was an active member of the yoga community in Bristol and he believed fiercely in the power of meditation and thought. He was inspired by nature and in his last year led a collaboration of neighbors to rejuvenate the Japanese Garden in the historic North Farm Arboretum. And let’s not get started on his passion for Dylan, popular culture and his ability to subtly look great in Italian fashion.

Brinley’s professional career began in Washington DC, where he was a Corporate Librarian and Senior Consultant for Price Waterhouse Coopers and KPMG. Brinley went on to become Associate Director, Director, Vice Provost, and Vice Provost Emeritus of the University of Connecticut Libraries in Storrs, CT where he spent over two decades leading the transformation of the libraries and research centers from traditional to digital institutions. He sat on the Dean’s Council at UConn and assumed other university-wide administrative roles.

In addition to his work at the University of Connecticut Libraries, Brinley served as President and Committee Chair for the Association of Research Libraries and served as President of the Boston Library Consortium. He was globally recognized and renowned as a leader in library institutions, where he was known for his calm and analytical approach to both professional issues and especially to leadership. He built his considerable professional reputation on his meticulous approach to managing library data systems, while in leadership and professional matters, Brinley was always as sharp as the lead in the mechanical pencil that was his constant companion.

Brinley was the founder and Principal for Library Management Consulting, LLC and the primary consultant in the U.S. for assisting colleges and universities with the optimization of overhead cost recovery related to library expenses that support sponsored grants and contracts. The methodology Brinley developed, and perfected over the years in collaboration with other colleagues, provided higher education institutions with the data necessary to negotiate the library component of the indirect cost rate in accordance with federal regulations. In 2019, Library Management Consulting was acquired by Attain, a leading management, technology, and strategy consulting firm based in McLean, VA.

Brinley was the son of Joachim Frankenstein (later John Franklin) and Susi Ehrenberg (Mrs. John Franklin) who emigrated to the United States from Germany in the early 1940s to escape Nazi persecution. Brinley began his formal education at the University of Maryland at College Park, where he earned his BA in American Studies and MLS in Library and Information Sciences. He took a brief educational hiatus to live in Vermont before he went on to acquire an MBA from George Washington University.

Those who were close to him will tell you the most important part of Brinley’s character, and maybe the most subtle, is that he looked out for you, in many small but important ways, and in a style that made what he did almost invisible. If you were close to him you just knew that he thought about you and tried to make your life better. He did things for you without your asking and he told you what you needed to hear, in a way that you heard it, without rancor, when you needed to hear it … a rare gift. His honesty was exceptional; you didn’t ask him a question if you didn’t want a direct answer.

Brinley is survived by his wife Raynna Bowlby; his children, Marga and Woody Franklin and Drew Genetti and his wife Erin; his grandchildren Hayden, Avery, and Finley Genetti; his sister, Carol Stinson and her husband Joel; his nephew, Kurt Stinson and his wife Jeanne; his grandnephew and grandniece Mack and Ketty Stinson; and lastly his best friend and goldendoodle, Skylos.

A celebration of his life will be held at the Japanese Garden and Arboretum in the Spring near Brinley and Raynna’s home in North Farm, Bristol RI.

Paws to Relax is Back

It sure is a tough Monday. Finals, stress, rain, icy sidewalks, and the greyest of all grey days. BUT – have no fear – the puppers are here! Today starts our finals week Paws to Relax program on the first floor of Homer Babbidge. Each day from 1-5 come say hi to a stress relief dog. A little drool and some dog hair on you goes a long way to making it all better.

Paws to Relax Image for the schedule - December 9-13, 2019

Monday, December 9
1-2pm – Colleen and Charlie (Cocker Spaniel)
2-3pm – Terri and Brody (Shetland Sheepdog)
3-4pm – Mary Beth and Witness (Golden Doodle)
4-5pm – Jeanne and Bennie (Shih-Tzu)

Tuesday, December 10
1-2pm – Alexandra and Ambrosia (Greyhound)
2-3pm – Laurel and Wrigley (Newfoundland)
3-4pm – Judith and Bella (Pug)
4-5pm – Octayvia and Boo (Golden Retriever)

Wednesday, December 11
1-2pm – Cheryl and Cassie (Golden Retriever)
2-3pm – Diane and Meka (Keeshond)
3-4pm – Laurel and Wrigley (Newfoundland)
4-5pm – Ted and Luke (Golden Retriever)

Thursday, December 12
1-2pm – Terri and Brody (Shetland Sheepdog)
2-3pm – Sandy and Andy (Golden Retriever)
3-4pm – Rebecca and Hunter (Shetland Sheepdog)
4-5pm – Sue and Jessie (Golden Retriever)

Friday, December 13
1-2pm – Betsy and Finn (Golden Doodle)
2-3pm – Peter and Grant (Golden Retriever)
3-4pm – Karen and Shadow (Cocker Spaniel)
4-5pm – Laura and Summit (English Lab)

As always, times and puppers may be subject to change. Super huge thanks to Carolyn Mills for organizing and for all the dogs and humans joining us this week. You all are the best.

Guidance on Predatory Publishing

Authored by the members of the UConn Library Scholarly Communication Coordinating Group

While many scholarly journal publishers offer high quality services, some publishers engage in what are considered predatory practices. Open access journals sometimes collect fees from authors called “article processing charges” or APCs. The fees are intended to cover publishing costs formerly covered by journal subscriptions and are often legitimate. However, some publishers project a deceptive profile of respectability while providing poor service and poor outcomes to authors (such as inadequate peer review or editorial services.) These publishers view the APCs collected from authors as primarily a revenue-generating opportunity.  Examples of predatory practices to be aware of can include:

  • Deceptive advertising regarding rigorous peer review when in fact articles are approved for publication in a matter of weeks or even days
  • Lack of clarity on author payments until acceptance of articles and unwillingness to let authors withdraw once the charges were made clear
  • Misrepresenting scientists as reviewers and editors who never agreed to do so
  • Fabricating lists of unsubstantiated “impact factors”
  • False claims that journals are indexed in literature databases
  • False promotion of scholarly conferences listing known scientists as organizers or participants who had not, in fact, agreed to participate
  • Misleading journal titles similar to that of  well-known prestigious journals

A recent example of a large predatory publisher with a judgment entered against them in the US legal system is that of Omics International

Authors attempting to avoid predatory journals and trying to find quality journals to publish in can consult the UConn Library guide Evaluating Journal Quality for assistance and ideas or Predatory Journals & Conferences: Guide to Publisher & Organization Evaluation designed to for Health Sciences professionals.

Evaluating Scholarly Journals Infographic by Allen Press via FrontMatter (CC BY ND NC 3.0)
Evaluating Scholarly Journals Infographic by Allen Press via FrontMatter (CC BY ND NC 3.0)

Library now purchasing faculty-authored books

Thanks to the generosity of private donors, the Library will be showcasing UConn produced research through the newly launched Faculty-Authored Books Program.

“The enormity of research being produced here at UConn is astounding, and we are in the unique position to cross disciplines and celebrate faculty work while strengthening our collections.”

Sparked by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Book Program last spring, Dean Langley sought to continue to engage with faculty in a meaningful way, by highlighting their work and making it widely available for students, faculty, staff and the larger community. “The enormity of research being produced here at UConn is astounding, and we are in the unique position to cross disciplines and celebrate faculty work while strengthening our collections,” noted Langley.

To kick-off the program, the Library has purchased books from 2017 to present from current full-time faculty and emeriti from all campuses, including Health and Law, and has developed workflows to purchase future publications moving forward. The process will depend largely on the data created by publishers, with added eyes from our subject specialists. There will also be an opportunity for faculty to request their book be purchased via a webform.

Creativity and Humor Book Cover, edited by Sarah Luria John Baer James Kaufman

Faculty-Authored Books Program Reception

Wednesday, October 30th, 4-5pm
Homer Babbidge Library, Heritage Room

Books costing more than $250, books with only chapters contributed by UConn faculty, and textbooks and conference proceedings will not be automatically purchased. “Our intention is not to close the door on anyone,” noted Michael Rodriguez, Collections Strategist. “We are happy to look at titles not part of our standard purchase parameters on a case-by-case basis, honoring the goals of the program while ensuring we are able to sustain it with the available funding.”

Before being integrated into the research collections, faculty-authored books will be shelved together on the new books shelf in the Homer Babbidge Library. They will offer a visual reminder of the depth and breadth of research produced at UConn. They are also easily searchable via the library catalog.

A public reception is scheduled for Wednesday, October 30th from 4-5pm in the Heritage Room on the fourth floor of Homer Babbidge Library.

Funding for the program is made possible through foundation gifts and donations of books from faculty. Learn more about the program and how you can donate.

Celebrate Open Access Week 2019

Open For Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge, Open Access Week October 21-27.

Welcome to Open Access Week 2019! International Open Access Week, led by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), is a global, community-driven week of action to open up access to research.

Each year the Library marks Open Access Week by celebrating the ways we engage with the University to help understand and incorporate Open into classes. This year we’d like to take a moment to wish our OER guru Kathy Labadorf the best in her retirement. Kathy was UConn’s first Open Educational Resources Librarian and the point of contact for many early adopters on campus. Her shoes will be difficult to fill and we’d like to share the words of her supervisor Kate Fuller, Head of Reference & Curriculum Services . “Kathy has become a passionate advocate for making higher education more affordable through her work with open and affordable texts, working closely with student groups and faculty alike and creating a rewarding and sustainable program that will continue to enable more students to achieve great things long into the future. Her intellect, creativity, and boundless energy has been a tremendous asset to the Library and the University, and she will be missed.” Before she retired, Kathy recorded this video for the GoOpen Initiative which talks about some of the initiatives here at UConn. We look forward to continuing her good work.

This past year we hired Lauren Slingluff, Associate Dean to the staff of the Library. Lauren came to UConn in 2019 with significant experience in OER from her work at Wheaton College in Norton, MA. In her own words, “I view OER as transformational from a social justice and equity standpoint in terms of the positive impact it has on students by removing invisible hurdles in the classroom.” Lauren was selected, along with Kate Fuller, to be members of the Connecticut OER Coordinating Council, a movement of teachers, professors, students, leaders, and policy makers working to expand the use of OER across Connecticut. Lauren joined Kathy for the GoOpen Initiative and recorded two videos we encourage you to watch. Affordability and equity of OER and Faculty Flexibility.

We continue to work with faculty and researchers on publishing their work in UConn’s institutional repository, OpenCommons@UConn. Since 2005, there have been over 5.1 million downloads from 234 countries. As of today, the top article downloaded (157,327 times) is the 1990 publication, “Gender and Leadership Style: A Meta-Analysis” by Alice Eagly, formerly of Purdue University and now of Northwestern University and Blair T. Johnson, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Psychology at UConn.

And when you think Open, think beyond textbooks. The Library has an incredible research collection that can also be used in the classroom. Did you know that Archives & Special Collections has over 1,200 open primary source materials over a wide range of topics such as human rights, children’s literature, CT businesses and a robust collection of papers of literary giants like Charles Olson and Edwin Way Teale to name only a few? Check it out at archivessearch.lib.uconn.edu. The Archives also supports Reveal Digital’s Independent Voices, an open access digital collection of alternative newspapers, magazines, and journals.

Author Workshop Series: Creative Commons Licence Workshop. Tuesday, November 5, Noon-1pm, Babbidge Library, Instruction Room 1136. Do you want your writing to be more widely accessible? Do you want to decide how others may use your work? Creative Commons licenses allow you to license your writing in simple, standardized ways. Register at workshops.lib.uconn.edu

As part of our year-round efforts, we welcome you to join us for our workshop series’ including learning how you can utilize Creative Commons Licensing. The workshop will be held on November 5 from 12:00-1:00 in Babbidge Library. Other workshops include learning how to negotiate to keep your copyright, managing your research, and for engineers, a look at the open tools available for your work. You can learn more and register for them at workshops.lib.uconn.edu

There are a few great resources for you to look through to learn more about incorporating Open and a great place to start is our Find Open Guide. We also have a few great links on Open Access Scholarship for you to consider:
Open Library of the Humanities
SCOAP3 initiative
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)
Open Textbook Library

Finally, this week we will also be joined by the students in UConnPIRG who will be in Homer Babbidge on Wednesday from 10:30-1:30 talking with fellow students about their grassroots efforts on campus and the importance of being involved.

I Support Open Access, UConn Library, Button image

We encourage you to also stop by Plaza in Homer Babbidge Library this week and pick up a sticker or a pin announcing your support of Open.

Newly Acquired Resources at the UConn Library

The UConn Library recently acquired permanent online access to 7 million scholarly journal articles, 3600 books, and 50 million pages of primary sources in all subjects. Unlimited access and downloads are permitted. Everything is available to all UConn, including Health and Law. 

Scholarly journals 

JSTOR Journals, Collections 12-15

JSTOR Journals, Collections 12-15

Purchase of these four JSTOR Arts & Sciences collections gives UConn a vastly expanded corpus of hundreds of new scholarly ejournals in diverse subjects, mostly starting with volume one and missing only the most recent issues. We gain access on JSTOR to these issues 2-6 years after publication. See JSTOR for title lists.

Sage Journals Deep Backfile

Sage Journals Deep Backfile

Purchase gives us the full corpus of 607 Sage-published ejournals from first volume and issue through 1998. This backfile encompasses all subjects and is especially strong in psychology, education, and the medical and health sciences. Download title list in Excel format.

American Institute of Physics (AIP) Complete Journals Archive

Purchase gives us the full text of 20 physics and related science ejournals from volume 1 to present, 1929-1998. The Archive includes 403,000 articles. See AIP for the title list


Scholarly ebooks 

Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB) Complete Online

164,000 pages of biographical and critical essays on the lives, works, and careers of the world’s most influential authors, filmmakers, and other creatives. Includes the Dictionary of Literary Biography (vols. 1-348), DLB Documentary Series (50 vols.), and DLB Yearbook (23 vols.). 

Elgar Economics Ebooks 2018 & 2019

Over one hundred monographs, handbooks, and research reviews in the field of economics. 

Harvard University Press Ebooks 2000-2015 

More than 800 titles published by Harvard University Press across all subjects. Includes hundreds of titles and course-adopted texts not otherwise available online. 

New Pauly Encyclopedia of the Ancient World

The English edition of the authoritative Der Neue Pauly, a key resource for classical studies. 

Oxford University Press Classical Studies 2010-2015

285 classical studies monographs published by Oxford University Press. 

Springer Computer Science 2015 & 2016 

All Springer computer science ebooks published in 2015 and 2016, including hundreds of monographs, proceedings, and other titles, including Lecture Notes in Computer Science. We now have continuous access to Lecture Notes in Computer Science from 2005 to present. 

Theologische Realenzyklopädie (TRE) Online

This German-language theological encyclopedia comprises 36 volumes and 2500 articles published 1976–2004. Complements Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception


Historical newspapers 

African American Historical Newspapers, 1911-2005

Cross-searchable full-text facsimile editions of the Atlanta Daily World‎ (1931-2003), Baltimore Afro-American‎ (1893-1988), Cleveland Call & Post (1934-1991), Chicago Defender (1910-1975), Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005), New York Amsterdam News‎ (1922-1993), Norfolk Journal & Guide (1921-2003), Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001), and Pittsburgh Courier (1911-2002). 

African American Historical Serials, 1829-1922

Full-text facsimile editions of 170 unique titles and 60,000 pages of periodicals, reports, and annuals from African American religious and social service organizations. Title list

American Indian Newspapers, 1828-2016

Cross-searchable full-text facsimile editions of 40 newspapers and magazines from North American indigenous communities, digitized in collaboration with tribal councils. 

The Atlantic Magazine Archive, 1857-2014

Complete, fully searchable, full color facsimile edition of The Atlantic from its first issue in 1857 through 2014. 

The Economist Historical Archive, 1843-2015

Complete, fully searchable, full color facsimile edition of The Economist. Containing every issue since its launch in 1843. 

Fortune Magazine Archive, 1930-2000

Complete, fully searchable, full color facsimile edition of Fortune from its first issue in 1930 through 2000.  

Financial Times Historical Archive, 1888-2016

Complete, fully searchable, full color facsimile edition of the FT (London edition) from its first issue in 1888 through 2016

The Independent Digital Archive, 1986-2012

Complete, fully searchable, full color facsimile edition of the Independent (London edition) from its first issue in 1986 through 2012. 

Life Magazine Archive, 1936-2000

Complete, fully searchable, full color facsimile edition of Life from its first issue in 1936 through 2000. 

New York Tribune / Herald Tribune Historical Newspaper, 1841-1962

Complete, fully searchable, facsimile edition of this New York City newspaper from its first issue in 1841 through 1962. 

The Sunday Times Historical Archive, 1822-2016

Complete, fully searchable, full color facsimile edition of the Sunday Times from its first issue in 1822 through 2016. 

The Telegraph Historical Archive, 1855-2016

Complete, fully searchable, full color facsimile edition of the Telegraph (both daily and Sunday editions) from its first issue through 2016.


Primary sources 

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Papers, 1912-1990

Parts 1 and 2 of the ACLU’s digitized archives, including newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, court files, memorandums, telegrams, minutes, and legal case records. 

American Fiction, 1774-1920

Contains the full text of more than 17,500 works of prose fiction written by Americans from the Revolution through World War I.

Archives of Gender and Sexuality Part 3

Expanding on the LGBTQIA-focused Parts 1 and 2, which were previously purchased by UConn, Part 3 hosts over 1 million pages of classic books and primary sources documenting sex and sexuality from the sixteenth through twentieth centuries. 

Early European Books Collections 1-12

Complete facsimile images of tens of thousands of books and rare incunabula printed across Europe, mostly in non-English languages, from 1450 to 1701. Complements Early English Books Online, which was previously purchased by the UConn Library. 

Making of the Modern World Part 2, 1851-1914

1.2 million pages of primary sources documenting the global shift to modernity. UConn had previously purchased Part 1: The Goldsmiths’-Kress Collection (1450-1850). 

NAACP Papers: The NAACP’s Major Campaigns–Legal Department Files, 1956-1972

Full text of the working case files of the NAACP legal department. Containing over 600 cases from 34 states and the District of Columbia, these files document the NAACP’s campaign to bring about desegregation throughout the United States. Purchase courtesy of UConn Law. 

Slavery & Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive Parts 1-4, 1490-1896

5 million cross-searchable pages sourced globally from books, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, legal documents, court records, monographs, manuscripts, and maps. 

State Papers Online Collections I-IX (Complete), 1509-1714

3 million pages of facsimile images of state papers that document early modern British and European history.


Research databases 

Archive Finder

Current directory of 5750 repositories and 206,000 collections of primary source materials housed across the United States and the United Kingdom. 

CAB Abstracts Archive, 1913-1972

1.8 million records on publications in agriculture, veterinary sciences, nutrition, the environment, and applied life sciences. Cross-searchable with UConn Library’s subscription access to CAB Abstracts 1972-present, also through the EBSCO vendor platform. 

Theatre & Drama Premium | Theatre & Drama Premium – Literature Collection

Permanent access to Alexander Street Press multimedia collections Black Drama, BroadwayHD, Contemporary World Drama, Drama Texts (including Asian American Drama), Performance Design Archive, Royal Shakespeare Company, Twentieth Century Drama, Theatre in Context, and Theatre in Performance (including Theatre in Video Parts I and II). Within these collections are 13,500 full-text plays, 150,000 pages of other materials, 300 audio plays from L.A. Theatre Works, and 750 hours of filmed stage performances and documentaries.

UConn Library joins the National Digital Stewardship Alliance

NDSA Logo

The UConn Library has joined the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA), a consortium of partner organizations committed to the long-term preservation of digital information. Hosted by the Digital Library Federation, more than 250 members from academic institutions as well as government and nonprofit organizations, commercial businesses, and professional associations work together to preserve access to our national digital heritage.

Preserving our heritage is one of the three foundational pillars of the Connecticut Digital Archive (CTDA) – to connect, preserve, and share. In collaboration with the Connecticut State Library, the CTDA provides access to UConn’s history and ensures the future of Connecticut’s cultural memory. The leadership and resources the UConn Library has committed to the CTDA since 2013 has resulted in over 1.45 million objects being preserved digitally from over 40 state-wide cultural institutions currently participating, and growing daily. Recently the CTDA became a Service Hub for the Digital Public Library of America, expanding access to those resources on a national platform. The continued efforts placed on proper preservation is an integral part of the CTDA and why we are pleased to be a part of the NDSA. Our participation gives us the opportunity to work and grow with members of the national community to engage in stewardship of these valuable resources.

Related story

CTDA becomes Service Hub for the Digital Public Library of America

The Chicken of Tomorrow and the Land Grant University


The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) connects people with the rich history found in the public institutions across America. As you may remember, the UConn Library, which runs the Connecticut Digital Archive, officially joined the DPLA as a hub for CT history in March. This is another article from Greg Colati on the kind of information you can find now that we have access through this new platform.

Written by Greg Colati, Assistant University Librarian for University Archives, Special Collections & Digital Curation

Winner of Chicken of Tomorrow Contest. (1946) Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America.

Created originally by the Morrill Act of 1861, a designated college in each state was given grants of Federal land to sell that would then be used to support practical education in agriculture and industrial arts. Although not the original Land Grant college in Connecticut (that’s another story that you can learn about here), Storrs Agricultural College was given Connecticut’s Land Grant designation in 1893, a little more than 10 years after its founding in 1881 as the Storrs Agricultural School.

Land grant universities take their practical educational and extension programs seriously, and through the 19th and 20th centuries they led the transformation of American agriculture from traditional to more scientific approaches, often running contests and competitions to encourage adoption of modern methods. “Chicken of Tomorrow” contests held throughout the country in the mid-twentieth century encouraged farmers to use scientific methods to breed larger and more meaty chickens. Contrary to what you might expect from the name of the competition, at the UConn the chickens were typically displayed butchered, plucked, and ready for cooking.

Chicken of Tomorrow Contest (Colonial Poultry House), University of Georgia. (1951). Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America.

Similarly unlucky chickens were featured at the University of Georgia’s contest held at the Colonial Poultry House at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in the 1950s. And, although the chickens held by these two boys in North Logan, Utah were definitely alive, they probably met the same fate as their Eastern cousins soon after this photo was taken.

Dennis Funk, Sam King, and Larry Nyman (Chicken of Tomorrow), North Local City Library. (1910-1929) Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America.

Arranged on tables with proud farmers and their families posed behind them, or serious student judges contemplating quality, photos of the Chicken of Tomorrow contests tend to elicit laughter from modern observers. But in their time, they were an important part of a national modernization of agriculture that fed a hungry and growing nation in the post-WWII era and illustrated the optimism and faith in science and technology that was a hallmark of that era.