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Acumen Digital Archives Explorer: Start Here

Helpful information about navigating the Digital Collections at UA, with collection highlights organized by subject.

Changes are underway!

We are currently migrating our digital content from Acumen to a new system, a process that will take some time.

If you are doing research in Acumen, be sure to copy the link to the the Persistent URL (PURL) rather than simply bookmarking the page based on what's in the address bar. The PURL will get you to the content wherever it lives, so that your research isn't interrupted during this process.

What's in the digital archives?

Most of the material in the UA Libraries Digital Collections comes from the W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library and the A. S. Williams III Americana Collection, both part of UA Libraries Division of Special Collections. As of December 2016, the repository contains over 137,000 items, including approximately

  • 101,000 manuscript items
  • 34,000 photographs
  • 2500 music scores (mid 19th-early 20th c.)
  • 2400 audio files
  • 1400 rare book items (mostly UA publications)
  • 2000 online finding aids for collections which have not been digitized

The digital repository also contains all the Dissertations & Theses written by UA students since 2008, about 2200 total.

How do I find items in the digital archives?

Acumen is UA Libraries' homegrown digital content repository. You can search there for digital archives directly.

Acumen is keyword anywhere search. Use the dropdown beside the search box to limit your search to a particular format, like photos or audio.

Scout is UA Libraries' discovery interface. A search of Scout automatically includes a search of the digital collections. 

To search just for digital archives material, go to the Advanced Search page (linked below the search box) and check the box labeled "Digital Collections Only."

Or if you're already on the search results page, look at the limiter "Content Provider" (panel at the bottom of the lefthand sidebar) and choose "University of Alabama Libraries Digital Collections."

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Kate Matheny