USF Libraries Digital Collections History

Digitization and digital collection building began at the USF Tampa Library Special Collections Department in the fall of 1995. In 1997 the library formally began to develop a plan to create a "virtual library" via twelve Virtual Library Implementation Teams. The Digitization Project Group (DPG) studied current standards and best practices in digitization and digital collections, and created a plan for the organization of the Library Digitization Center (LDC). The DPG finished its work with the formal organization of the LDC in 1999 and the overall Virtual Library Project work concluded in 2001.


A Digital Collections & Imaging Unit was constituted in the fall of 2005 under a plan to streamline imaging, digitization, and digital collections operations by merging staff from multiple units across the USF Tampa Library. The unit underwent subsequent reorganizations with the goal of improving efficiencies and connections to other library units and services. Digital Collections & Imaging would be called Digital Collections and Services (DCS), be part of Special & Digital Collections, and be renamed once again to Digital Initiatives & Services. In July 2016 the Digital Initiatives & Services unit joined with the ScholarCommons unit to form the new Digital Scholarship Services department.


Digitization staff continuously study emerging standards,best practices,and research new procedures to facilitate process improvement and efficiencies.


Digital collections in the USF Libraries originate from multiple sources:

  • physical collection owned by the USF Libraries, primarily from the Tampa Library Special Collections Department
  • physical collections owned by USF Libraries' partners
  • collections that were purchased and are hosted locally
  • collections for which USF Libraries purchased subscription access (fee based, network affiliation, or freely available)

Please email us at digitalcollections@usf.edu or visit our Help page if you have a question.


All collections made available through Digital Collections have metadata describing their rights status. For more information please visit: Digital Collections Rights Statements.


For more information on copyright and terms of use please visit the Libraries’ Copyright and Terms of Use pages.


SobekCM platform

USF Libraries Digital Collections utilizes the open-source SobekCM platform (locally customized version) to host and maintain digital collections. SobekCM supports complete indexing in Google and other internet search engines for enhanced discoverability by users and researchers internationally. SobekCM also supports the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). Via our OAI-PMH access point we support harvesting by the Sunshine State Digital Network (SSDN) for contributing our metadata to the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). The SobekCM software is also available in a GitHub repository. SobekCM is very extensible and supports a robust plugin-in system which we take full advantage of. Many plugins have been developed locally and are in use in our repository and are also available in a separate GitHub repository.


Home page organization

Featured collections and recently added items are included on the home page underneath the main search interface. Clicking the browse collections button will allow you to page through all collections. Once in the browse collections view, a secondary search, showing at the top of the results, will allow you to search for a specific collection title.


Collection arrangement

Digital Collections are arranged into parent and sub-collections. The main browse collections pages will show both parent level and sub-collection level collections. Each collection may have unique metadata fields in addition to standardized fields across all digital collections.



The default search on the site home page and header is a keyword search for all digital collections. When in a certain collection, the collection level search box allows individual collections to be searched by keyword.

Advanced and Full-Text Searching: The advanced search is a search of descriptive metadata and provides dropdowns for searching specific fields, also including full-text and Booleansearching options.

Search results: The brief search results in 25 results per page of item thumbnails that match the search terms. Results are default sorted by relevance, but can be also be sorted by date, serial title, and alphabetically.


Viewing content

Each content type will have different viewer options, such as: metadata, stats, notes, images, PDF, page-turner, audio, and video files. Additional viewers can be accessed by clicking on the three dot icon () to the right of the item. No additional plug-ins are required, only full HTML5 support in modern browsers.

Metadata is available in multiple file formats including:


This metadata file is the source metadata file submitted and maintained along with all the digital resource files. This contains all of the citation and processing information used to build this resource. This file follows the established Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS) and Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS). This METS/MODS file was just read when this item was loaded into memory and used to display all the information in the standard view and marc view within the citation.


The entered metadata is also converted to MARC XML format, for interoperability with other library catalog systems. This represents the same data available in the MARC VIEW except this is a static XML file. This file follows the MarcXML Schema.


Downloading content

All items within digital collection have a download icon () to the right of the item that will provide multiple options for downloading the material in a pop-up window. Image files may be downloaded in a variety of sizes and file types. Users are responsible for securing copyright permissions (if any) for the use of downloaded content. Additionally, multiple viewers provide built-in features for downloading content. When viewing a PDF within digital collections, files can also be downloaded via the PDF viewers download icon ().



myUSFLDC provides services to customize your digital collections experience. USFLDC stands for University of South Florida Libraries Digital Collections. Register for an account or login via the myUSFLDC Home link in the top right of each page. While registering please include as much detail as possible.


In myUSFLDC you will be able to view and organize your tags, bookshelves, and searches, etc. If you have site permissions you will also be able to submit items and work with them.

When logged in the myUSFLDC service will be available where you will find your customizations - My Collections, My Links, including your bookshelves.

Statistics about the collection

Statics on collection usage are freely available. Visit the statistics pages to learn more about collection item counts & usage statistics.