Ideas for Using AASL Best Websites: Media History Digital Library

Are you a fan of old movies? Are you curious about the early days of radio and television? Are you interested in pop culture? Are you studying Film or Media Studies? Even if you are none of the above, you will find that just a short guided tour of the Media History Digital Library (follow the link below) will entice you to delve deeper into the exploration of this vast and amazing collection of documents detailing the early days of film, television, and radio.

The Media History Digital Library is a non-profit project dedicated to digitizing collections of classic media periodicals that belong in the public domain for full public access. The current collection includes more than 1.3 million scanned pages from books and magazines relating to the history of film, radio and television. Users may read material online, download in PDF, or visit the Internet Archive, where you will also find cataloging information and additional download options.

Lantern, the search platform, is the way to visualize and explore the collections of the Media History Digital Library. This open access project,  a co-production of the Media History Digital Library and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Communication Arts, is directed by David Pierce and Eric Hoyt,  and supported by owners of materials who loan them for scanning, as well as and donors who contribute funds to cover the cost of scanning. On Lantern you can find critiques and commentary about movies, books, yearbooks and playbills, as well as many periodicals about the movie, television, and radio industries. Initial searches can be refined by date, language, and publication type. You can also browse through collections curated by MHDL.

The Media History Digital Library is an excellent way for students, film buffs and just those people curious enough to wonder about the “early days” of broadcast to access rare and previously unavailable historical materials.

Take a look…Heather Moorefield Lang, Chair of the AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Committee will take you on a short guided tour of the Media History Digital Library.

Susan Hess
Best Websites for Teaching and Learning – Committee Member


Author: Heather Moorefield-Lang

Heather Moorefield-Lang is an associate professor at The University of South Carolina in the School of Library and Information Science. To see more of Heather’s work visit her website at, email her at, or follow her on Twitter @actinginthelib.

Categories: Blog Topics

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.