State Library's Digital Collections

The State Library's digital repository helps researchers find both historic and current digitized collections relating to Massachusetts.

New items added daily so there is always something new to discover

Table of Contents

What is the State Library's digital repository?

Our digital repository is an online collection of items that is completely free and open to all users. These items include thousands of Massachusetts state government reports, legislative materials, maps, photographs, and other historical or cultural materials that either have been digitized by the State Library or other institutions or were “born digital,” meaning that they were published electronically originally and not in print. 

DSpace is the name of the open source software we use for the State Library’s digital repository’s platform. This page will identify some of our most popular collections and help explain how they are organized.  

Additional Resources

History of the digital repository at the State Library

The State Library's digital repository was developed to address long-term access and preservation of electronic documents. By the late 1990s, government documents were increasingly being published electronically rather than in print, and the librarians at the State Library began to plan how they could save, store, and provide access to this new digital format. Also at this time, the Library began to digitize its own materials, starting with historic manuscript collections and finding aids in the Special Collections Department.

By 2002, the State Library knew that its growing collection of digitized and born-digital material required an electronic repository and decided to use DSpace, an open-source digital asset management system developed by MIT and Hewlett-Packard. Funding from the Massachusetts Information Technology Division (ITD), today the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS), enabled the State Library to hire a consultant to help implement the software and purchase the necessary equipment.

Since the digital repository was formally introduced in 2009, materials such as the Acts and Resolves, Bills and Legislative Documents, House and Senate Journals, city and town reports, annual reports from different state departments and agencies, and photograph collections have been downloaded millions of times by patrons around the world. 

Massachusetts Acts and Resolves

The largest and most significant collection in the digital repository is the Massachusetts Acts and Resolves, the first collection that you see on the landing page. Also known as "Session Laws," this collection includes the laws that were passed every year by the Massachusetts General Court from 1692 to 2010. 

For Acts and Resolves passed after 2010, you can visit the General Court's website to view the unofficial versions.

Additional Resources

Legislative Document Series and House and Senate Journals

In addition to the Acts and Resolves, the State Library has also digitized the bound volumes of the Massachusetts Legislative Documents series, which includes the bills filed in both the Senate and House of Representatives of the Massachusetts General Court. While bills make up the vast majority of the Legislative Documents, this collection also includes legislative reports and other documents filed with the Legislature.

This collection also includes the Massachusetts House and Senate Journals, which act as a procedural record of the Legislature during each session. These Journals were digitized by the State Library from the official print versions in our collections

Bills from the 186th Session of the General Court (2009-2010) and later can be found on the Massachusetts General Court's website.

Additional Resources

What else can I find in the digital repository?

There is much more in the digital repository than the bills and acts! The other documents collections are organized hierarchically by state agency in what are referred to as "communities" and "sub-communities," meaning that a department that is organized under a larger department or top-level agency will be listed under that larger agency’s name.

For example, if you would like to see documents published by the Division of State Parks and Recreation, you could scroll down the list of collections on the digital collections landing page and select Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Then you would select Department of Conservation and Recreation, and then select Division of State Parks and Recreation. From there, you can see different reports, newsletters, and other publications published by that agency.

You can also search “Division of State Parks and Recreation” [use quotation marks to search exact phrases] in the search box to find relevant collections and publications.

Government agencies publish many types of documents, including reports, newsletters, advisories, press releases, meeting minutes, and more. Significant Massachusetts documents collections in the digital repository include annual reports published by individual state government departments, the Governor’s Press Releases, the official reports of the State Auditor, the Massachusetts Register, and the Public Document Series.

Additional Resources

Other State Library collections in the digital repository

The digital repository also includes digitized items from the State Library’s Special Collections Department, including finding aids for Massachusetts state legislator’s papers and manuscript collections, as well as maps, broadsides, photographs, and more. Notably, you can view the entire Bradford manuscript, also known as Of Plimoth Plantation, online or search for portraits of Massachusetts World War I soldiers who served in the 26th “Yankee” Division.

Additional Resources

Contact   for State Library's Digital Collections


Open M-F 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Open M-F 9 a.m.–5 p.m. *Advance appointments are strongly recommended


(617) 727-9730


Main Library
Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon Street, Room 341, Boston, MA 02133
Special Collections Department
Massachusetts State House, 24 Beacon Street, Room 55, Boston, MA 02133

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