Isaac Asimov (1920–1992) was one of the greatest science fiction writers of the 20th century. Many critics, scientists, and educators believe Asimov’s greatest talent was for popularizing or, as he called it, “translating” science for the lay reader. This online display features visuals and descriptions of some of the more than 600 books, games, audio recordings, videos, and wall charts included in the West Virginia University Libraries Asimov Collection.

The Association for Cultural Equity Research Center has made available online its massive collection of folklorist Alan Lomax’s material. Lomax spent his career documenting folk music traditions from around the world. The archive includes more than 17,400 digital audio files, beginning with his first recordings onto (newly invented) tape in 1946 and tracing his career into the 1990s. It also includes photographs, interviews, and lectures. Hobart Smith, Bluefield, Virginia, 1959.

Do you love Virginia Woolf's A ROOM OF ONE"S OWN?

The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf (1915)

The Edgar Allan Poe Digital Collection was launched to accompany the 2009 Poe Bicentennial exhibition, “From Out That Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Edgar Allan Poe,” a joint venture of the University of Texas Harry Ransom Center and the Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia.

Austrian Books Online is a joint project of the Austrian National Library and Google, which has digitized some 100,000 of the library’s public-domain holdings since 2010. These books can now be downloaded, read online, and searched free of charge with the help of the library’s online catalog. One treasure is the Kronyka Czeská, 1541, by Jan Severýn and Ondřej Kubeš of Žepův, based in large part on old legends and tales of the land.

The Goethe University Frankfurt in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, began a project in February 2011 to digitize the more than 2,800 medieval manuscripts and incunabula in its collections. The 1,000th manuscript scanned was The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, written in northern Italy in the 14th century. Other pieces include a 13th-century Parisian Bible from the Cistercian Abbey of Eberbach and the Rüst- und Feuerwerksbuch (Book of Weapons and Fireworks) of the city of Frankfurt.

The Consort, Anthony Heckstall-Smith by alexisorloff, via Flickr

Eighteenth Century Collections Online is a searchable database of 2,231 keyed-text editions of every significant English-language and foreign-language title printed in the United Kingdom during the 18th century, along with thousands of important works published in the Americas. A 12-year initiative between the University of Michigan Library and Oxford University named the Text Creation Partnership has produced page images.

Fahrenheit 451

The Florida State University Digital Library provides online access to Florida State University’s rich and unique historical collections of photos, pamphlets, maps, manuscripts, and rare books. Currently, the library highlights collections from Special Collections and Archives, Heritage Protocol, and the Claude Pepper Library, including yearbooks from 1900 to 1997, historical photos of campus, and selections from the Paul A. M. Dirac Papers.

The Women’s Library @ LSE (London School of Economics) digital collections include a representative selection of the personal, political, and economic struggles that have symbolized women’s battle for equality over the past 500 years. The collection includes pamphlets, magazines, journals, documents, photographs, postcards, and books.

VILLETTE by Charlotte Bronte -- illette represents the inimitable Brontë genius by giving us a masterful portrait of Lucy Snowe, who belongs beside the great nineteenth-century literary heroines—and who will strongly appeal to modern readers.

Reading: Harvard Views of Readers, Readership, and Reading History is an online exploration of the intellectual, cultural, and political history of reading as reflected in the historical holdings of the Harvard Libraries. For Internet users worldwide, Reading provides unparalleled digital access to a significant selection of unique source materials.

The University of California, Santa Barbara Digital Library includes some 3,000 highlights from the large collection of historic photographs, recordings, and manuscripts in the Davidson Library’s Special Collections Department. Among the highlights are photographs from Ghana, Britain, and Australia from 1910 to 1921; poster prints from contemporary San Francisco artists; picture discs from the 1940s; and artistic photographs of California and the United States from 1970 to 1990.

The Royal Society Picture Library is an online database of digital images of paintings, drawings, and prints held in the collections of the Royal Society, the world’s oldest scientific academy. It has been created to inspire the exploration of science through its visual history.

The Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology is the Smithsonian’s collection of rare books and manuscripts relating to the history of science and technology. Its digital collections include portraits of men and women in science, rare books printed before 1501, original drawings of 16th-century machines, and the 200 books selected by Bern Dibner that were donated in 1976 as the most significant titles in the development of Western science and technology.

The Word on the Street digital collection (subtitled “How Ordinary Scots in Bygone Days Found Out What Was Happening”) is the National Library of Scotland’s online archive of nearly 1,800 broadsides. It lets you see for yourself how people in Scotland read street literature to find out what was going on between 1650 and 1910. Broadsides were the tabloids of their day.

The Mark Twain Project Online applies innovative technology to more than four decades’ worth of archival research by expert editors. Its ultimate purpose is to produce a digital critical edition, fully annotated, of everything Mark Twain wrote. MTPO is a collaboration between the Mark Twain Papers and Project of the Bancroft Library, the California Digital Library, and the University of California Press.

Papers Past contains more than one million pages of digitized New Zealand newspapers and periodicals. Developed by the National Library of New Zealand in Wellington, the collection covers the years 1840 to 1915 and includes publications from all regions of the country.

The Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ Galaxy of Images collection includes thousands of images representing a small portion of the more than 1.5-million printed books and manuscripts in their collections. Images are browsable or searchable by keyword or topics that include the animal world, art and design, bones and fossils, history and material culture, literature, the natural world, plants and flowers, portraits, science and invention, and trade literature.