National Library Week: Libraries = Digital Communities – “APRL Digital”

In the age of Twitter, Instagram and other social media alternatives the ongoing resource and service goal of the American Philatelic Research Library is to expand the reach of the library to those who may not or cannot visit in person us here. The digital world of disseminating information for research, in this case philatelic research, has advanced such that a good number of the resources we know and use each day appear in digital form. To this end, the APRL  in October 2017 began its Digital Resources Imitative to make available to our members some of the more common resources used in their research.

To achieve this goal the APRL began scanning, digitizing and uploading the complete run of the American Philatelist into a ContentDM-based web platform titled APRL DIGITAL. Starting with the very first issue in January 1887, APS members can now access all published issues of the society’s official organ enabling them to conduct full-text searches of all of the issues as well as being able to download any of the issues.

First Issue of the American Philatelist January 1887

Along with the AP the APRL has also scanned, digitized and uploaded complete runs of the Collectors Club Philatelist, the American Philatelic Congress Books, the Journal of Sports Philately, the Postal History Journal and the P.S. journal. We are also just about to do the same for the journals of the Wisconsin Federation of Stamp Clubs (WFSC), Across the Fence and Across the Fence Post. Also on the horizon for this year we will be beginning the process of digitizing and uploading the complete run of the APRL’s quarterly journal the Philatelic Literature Review. Many of the most current issues are already digitized and accessible on the APS website for APS and APRL members and those will be uploaded to the APRL DIGITAL site soon while further scanning, digitizing and uploading of earlier issues will be undertaken

As for brief set of instructions for accessing the content found in the APRL DIGITAL, users should first visit the APRL’s page on the new APS website ( Before clicking on any links to access the digital library content you must be logged in to the APS website. Login to the website using the “log in” link at the top of the page (circled in red below). If you have never logged in before you can create a login and password as well after clicking on this link.

This step of gaining access is very important before proceeding, if you are not properly logged in to the APS website you will not be able to access all of the content in the APRL DIGITAL database but will instead see many “restricted files” instead of viewing full AP and other journal issues.

Once you are properly logged in, look for the APRL DIGITAL icon on the right side of the APRL webpage. There below the icon should be a link titled “MEMBER ONLY Access.” If you do not see this link underneath the icon along with the words “DIGITAL LIBRARY” you are not properly logged in and must repeat the process of logging in.. Once logged in click on either the APRL DIGITAL icon itself or the links titled “DIGITAL LIBRARY” or “MEMBER ONLY Access.” You will then be taking to the Digital Collections webpage and can access the digital library content for there.

In the coming weeks in the AP, the PLR and this blog there will be a tutorial created for conducting effective searches and explaining other features and functions of the database. For now, we would ask members to use the database and let us know about what works and what improvements they would like to see so that we can continually enhance its functionality. When browsing the digital collection ALSO feel free to let us know if there is any that needs to added as we strive to have complete and comprehensive runs of the house organ and the other uploaded journals in our digital library collection.

2 thoughts on “National Library Week: Libraries = Digital Communities – “APRL Digital””

  1. Scott, For the record, AP for the complete years 2000 to 2006 inclusive are not online, returning instead the phrase “The item you tried to view does not exist”. The same response applies to all six issues of the University publication (sorry, can’t recall its exact title).

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