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University of Southern Maine
Libraries & Learning

Guide to Special Collections: Digital Collections

Learn about accessing and using Special Collections resources for your courses or research projects.

About Digital Collections

Our digital collections are composed of items selected for digitization, born-digital items, and our publications. All three are available on

Items selected for digitization represent less than 5% of our physical collections. They include individual items that have been digitized for classes and exhibits, whole collections, and artificial collections like Maine LGBTQ+ Newspaper Collection.

Born-digital items include audio and visual media, databases, newsletters, and other documents.

Digital Commons at University of Southern Maine

Learn tips for searching and browsing items from the Franco American Collection and Special Collections on USM Digital Commons, including how to find the Franco American Collection, how to recognize a finding aid, how to keyword search within collections, and how to contact our staff.

Browse and Search Digitized Items on Digital Commons

Digitized items are organized into meta-collections and collections, just like physical items.


  1. Starting at, select Special Collections.
  2. Select a meta-collection from the list. Example: African American Collection.
  3. Select a collection from the list. Example: Eugene Jackson Papers.
  4. If applicable, select a series from the list. Example: Ruby Family Photo Album.


  1. Navigate to the meta-collection, collection, or series you want to search.
  2. Use the search box in the left sidebar to search by keyword. Searches are automatically limited to the group of items you're currently viewing.

Special Collections Librarian & Food Studies Liaison

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Jill Piekut Roy
Subjects: Food Studies


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Anna Faherty
51 Westminster St.
Lewiston, ME
(207) 753-6545