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How do I search Umbra Search?

Umbra Search features a simple search syntax, similar to what you might employ using web search engines. The following searches illustrate key search features of Umbra Search:

What is Umbra Search?

Umbra Search is a digital library and widget that aggregates materials documenting African American history and cultural life from archives, libraries, museums, and other US repositories. Umbra Search features thumbnail images and descriptive information about photographs, manuscripts, documents, books, sound files, video files, and other freely available resources.

Where can I find Umbra Search?

The Umbra Search site is located at Umbra Search is also a widget that can be embedded in any digital environment, allowing users to access Umbra Search from other sites. Anyone can embed the widget following simple instructions here. You can also find us on social media. Follow along on Twitter @UmbraSearch and Tumblr at

Where does Umbra Search content come from?

Materials come from the collections of partner and contributing institutions—libraries, archives, museums, and other repositories that have made parts of their collections available online. Umbra Search collects thumbnail images and descriptive information that lead Umbra Search users to view digital materials in a given library/repository’s home online collection. Browse a full list of institutions that are contributing materials to Umbra Search.

How can I add content to Umbra Search?

As an aggregator, Umbra Search does not host any content. In the future, we hope to develop ways that you can contribute materials digitally, but we aren’t there yet! If you know of a repository or collection that might align with the scope of Umbra Search, please write to us at, and write Content in the subject line.

Who are Umbra Search's partners?

We are pleased to have a large and growing list of partners and contributors as contributing institutions (over 500 and counting!). If you would like to partner with Umbra Search, please email us at, and write Partnership in the subject line. Umbra Search's founding partners are:

Can I share Umbra Search materials with others?

Yes! You will find sharing options in the full-record view of objects. You can share materials via email, or through a suite of social media options—Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, and more.

I found some errors on the site, and/or materials that don’t seem to fit the theme. How do I let you know about them?

Contact us at If possible, please include links to the specific content or page with which you had difficulty and describe the issue in as much detail as possible.

You can also take a brief online survey to let us know what is working for you and what can be improved.

Who has the copyright?

Umbra Search does not own rights to materials displayed on the Umbra Search site, and makes no warranties of their suitability for further use. Some of the materials displayed on Umbra Search may be in the public domain; others have been digitized with the permission of rights holders or through other arrangements. For permission to publish the materials displayed on Umbra Search, please contact the holding institution for more information.

Users are responsible for their own uses of any materials accessed through Umbra Search African American History. Users who wish to obtain permission for publication, display, or other uses of these materials should contact the Contributing Institution for information about rights ownership and permissions.

Who funds Umbra Search?

Umbra Search is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, with generous support from the University of Minnesota.

Digitization of University of Minnesota Libraries materials is funded by the Council of Library and Information Resources, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.