LA as Subject

Collectively preserving, archiving and sharing the rich history and culture of Los Angeles

University of Southern California, Digital Library

University of Southern California Digital Library
Doheny Memorial Library, University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0182

Contact: Matt Gainer, Director
Phone: 213- 740-8832

Institution Type: Archive, College/University

Web site:

Archives and Collections

The Digital Library of the University of Southern California (formerly known as the Digital Archive, formerly known as ISLA) is an ongoing project that is building a virtual library of digitized multidisciplinary materials much of which has a focus on the Los Angeles region. Its search and retrieval software will allows these materials to be accessed using the parameters of space, time, keyword, format, or collection. The Digital Library includes: Images selected from maps and historical newspapers in the Huntington Library’s collection, including color maps created by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1939, the Spanish-language newspaper El Clamor Publico (1855-1859), and the Los Angeles Star (1852-1863); photographs and maps from the Automobile Club of Southern California (1892-1963); photographs of artifacts from the archaeological collection (1880-1933) of the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California; and from the University of Southern California’s collections, including the California Historical Society Collection (photographs of Los Angeles, 1860-1960), the Hearst Collection (news photographs from the Los Angeles Examiner, 1920-1961), the Whittington Collection (commercial and architectural photographs, 1924-1987), the East Asian Library (Korean-American documents, photographs, and oral histories), the Gamble House in Pasadena (architectural drawings, photographs and other documents relative to the Greene & Greene architects) (1888-1944); Texts such as manuscript documents pertaining to the activities of the Los Angeles Ayuntamiento and City Council (Los Angeles City Archives, Untitled Records Series, 1820s-1890s), newspaper clippings from the Los Angeles Examiner (1920-1961), and master’s theses and doctoral dissertations about Los Angeles written by students at the University of Southern California (1920s-1990s); Data from the historical federal censuses though 1990 and the WPA’s household survey of 1940. Because the Digital Library has arranged to digitize materials that are the intellectual property of various individuals and institutions, the downloading of some items may be subject to restrictions.

Regions Covered: Best representation is a five (5) mile radius around downtown Los Angeles

Type of Materials: Architectural Drawings, Audio Recordings, Books, Diaries/Journals/Personal Papers, Manuscripts, Maps, Newspapers, Official Records, Photographs

Time Periods: Pre-1848, 1848-1899, 1900-1920, 1921-1949, 1950-1963, 1964-1980, 1981-Present

Languages: English

Sectors of the Population: Artistic Communities, Business, Clubs/Service/Social Organizations, Community Service Organizations, Developmentally Disabled, Education, Gender Specific, Homeless, Labor Unions, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Migrant Workers, People with disabilities, Politics/Government, Professional, Seniors, Veterans, Youth, African Descent, Asian Descent, European Descent, Jewish Descent, Mexican Descent/Chicano/Latino, Middle Eastern Descent, Native American Descent/Indigenous, Multiethnic


Catalog System: Collections are cataloged according to Qualified Dublin Core on a highly customized Documentum installation with an Oracle back end. Collection records are also available in the USC Library’s online catalog, Homer, according to AACR2 and are input to OCLC.
Digital Formats: All archives are digitized
Repository/Depository: Yes
Exhibited: Yes
Outreach: Internet