LDS Church History Library Internet Archive

A number of weeks ago, the Church History Library facebook page announced a new initiative to digitize published LDS materials in their repository. They are being made available in conjunction with the Internet Archive.

As soon as I heard, I subscribed to the RSS feed and watched in amazement as my reader filled with generally inaccessible titles, now available in several formats (including text searchable). I asked the folks on the project if they could tell us about what is going on, and they kindly responded:

Our partnership with the Internet Archive is an early step in our desire to share the Church History Library’s holdings with a world-wide audience. In September, we began capturing and posting books and pamphlets to the site.

For the Internet Archive, we’ll be concentrating on our published materials printed before 1923. In the future, we will move into post-1922 publications that are free of copyright restrictions. However, for the time being, we’ll focus our efforts on the “low-hanging” fruit where we know that the items are in the public domain.

We’ve started to work through Peter Crawley’s two-volume bibliography on Mormon publications and will eventually move into frequently requested published materials here at the physical library as well as patron suggestions.

Whether or not an item appears in BYU’s digital collections may impact when we digitize it.

Low hanging fruit? Well so far, that has included numerous early hymnals and British conference minutes. Some might find the early Utah legislative documents interesting, others, the early translations of missionary pamphlets. As a new item has appeared, I have tried to skim through or read it entirely and have found numerous things that would have otherwise never have come to my attention. Several of these have been rather important for my research.

This is just one more example in a series of important projects that the various crews at the Church History Library have implemented. I’m impressed.


  1. Thanks for the notice J. Funny thing, I made inquiries as well after seeing that on FB, but I guess they got back to you sooner ;)

    This is an exciting development and just one more of a continuing series of great ideas coming out of the CHL recently.

  2. J., for internet idiots, can you get gmail to notify you of an addition to the archive somehow? I’m completely ignorant about rss feeds, etc.

  3. Thanks for posting this and especially the link to the RSS feed.

  4. Natalie B. says:

    I just spent an hour on the site. So many amazing resources.

  5. Luck of the draw, Jared (grin). But agreed, tremendous work going on over there.

    WVS, there are a number of services that will parse rss and feed it to email. Depending on the email reader you use (e.g., outlook), it may also pull in rss feeds.

  6. Thanks, J.

  7. Wow. Thanks for the heads up! :)

  8. This is awesome. I love technology.

  9. Holy crap. This is fantastic.

  10. We’ll be talking about this, among other things, Friday at 3 in a panel at the Mormon Media Studies Symposium at BYU. (We’re focusing on film, filmstrips, radio plays, etc., but we’ll surely talk about all the Church archive’s efforts to digitize their catalog) The conference’s homepage, with schedule, is at
    You can follow discussion of the whole conference through the Twitter hashtag #MormonMedia
    (and it’s off topic except for the fact it’s about digital media and the Internet, but I’m also doing another panel Thursday at 3 about digital/online Mormon film and video)

  11. Steve Evans says:

    Good stuff Randy. That Symposium looks to be really interesting.

  12. Thanks for the post, J., and the link to the RSS feed. What a great idea to have these show up one by one in RSS feed. It did, however, take about three tries to get the feed to work (Mail for Mac).

    I’m currently working on an 1890s missionary journal (London Conference) and have been using the BYU Digital Archives and Google Books to search the Millennial Star for names and events. I was excited to see a bunch of reports of the London Conference in this collection, but none from the right period. I’ll keep my eyes open!

    Thanks again. This is a wonderful resource for people like me who can’t make it to the Church History Library.

  13. It’s a wonderful resource for people who *can* make it to the CHL! Great stuff.

  14. wow!