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Website of the Week — Harvard Open Collections

Time again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations.

This week, we are browsing virtually through one of the world's great storehouses of knowledge as we explore the digital online collections of the Harvard University Library.

VERBA: "It's a program in which we try to take materials that are at the Harvard library that ordinarily would be just locked into the library - people would have to come and use them here - and by using digitization make it available all over the world for free.

Sidney Verba is the director of the Harvard University library, home of the Open Collections Program at

For its online collections, Dr. Verba's team is working thematically, drawing from the vast resources of the Harvard Library system. One collection that you might find interesting is called Women Working, about the role of women in the American economy.

VERBA: "It is a collection of 3,500 books, more or less, thousands of pages of manuscripts, photographs and the like. And it forms background material for people teaching courses in economic history, in women's history and subjects of that sort."

Those 3,500 books, we should stress, are posted online in full - scanned images of every page. Other collections focus on biological diversity in China and Tibet, 19th century American advertising trade cards, and immigration to the United States from the late 1700s up to 1930.

VERBA: "We scan materials about the anti-immigration league in the United States, about immigration support groups. We scan lots of photographs. And it really gives one a sense of what real history was like."

A serious research tool or fascinating browsing, courtesy of Harvard Library's Open Collections program online at, or get the link from our site,

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