The Scholarly Research Guide to DPLA

DPLA can help you find the resources you need for your research project. Our portal makes it easy to search the digital collections of thousands of libraries, archives, and museums nationwide, all in one website.


Search DPLA for your research topic

The most powerful way to discover sources in DPLA is through our standard search. Use facets to narrow your results by type, subject, location, date, language, contributing institution, and/or partner. Boolean operators can help you expand or narrow your search results. For more on searching DPLA, visit our Search Tips

DPLA item record page for a map of the United States

A DPLA item record page.

Other great features for scholarly research

DPLA features curated projects on a variety of research topics with both broad and narrow focus, which may help you with your topic. Our Exhibitions tell stories of national significance through sources and narrative, created by librarians and historians. Browse by topic highlights the best few hundred items on a broad subject, while Primary Source Sets for Education offer an overview of popularly taught ideas and events in history and culture. As you discover materials of interest for your research, create lists of items to come back to later without having to repeat your search.

If you’re looking to use an item you find in DPLA in your work, each item record features information about its copyright status. We’re working with our contributing institutions to add a standardized rights statement to every item through our partnership. If the item is open, still be sure to mention the contributing institution in your acknowledgements!

Woman reading in library aisle

Courtesy of University of Wisconsin Digital Collections via Recollection Wisconsin.

Find out more information

If you want to take your research beyond DPLA, the contributing institutions are the best experts on their collections and we recommend contacting them directly. To learn more about how DPLA’s network of hubs and contributing institutions works, visit DPLA Pro.

Has DPLA helped your research? Do you want to help us spread the word? Check out our Community Reps program to help us raise awareness of DPLA in local communities. Send us feedback at or follow us on social media!