Northern Plains Peoples and Places

Home page of Northern Plains Peoples and Places

The Center for Western Studies Digital Collections debuted in 2011 are evolving.

Click here to enter the site.In the fall of 2015, CWS embarked on a new partnership with Augustana University’s Mikkelsen Library to create Northern Plains Peoples and Places (np3), a continually growing online database of digital resources related to the Northern Plains and its inhabitants. The database includes primary source material from the Center for Western Studies archives, university publications, and scholarly research and creative endeavors by university students and faculty.

Content on np3 spans a long period of Northern Plains history from early missionary work during the Civil War era to the present. Topics range from local Sioux Falls and Augustana history to regional literature, and religious, social, and political history. To browse a list of subjects in np3, check out the Topics page.

Highlights of Northern Plains Peoples and Places include:

The database represents only a small fraction of what is available in the CWS archives, but staff regularly update np3 with new collections to give scholars a better sense of the broader content that is available for in-person research. The current digitization focus is documents and photographs with the intention of adding oral recordings from the CWS collections in coming years.

The partnership with Mikkelsen Library allows CWS to migrate its digital collections to CONTENTdm, a robust management and hosting platform that offers many useful tools for researchers. These include in-depth keyword search capabilities, detailed item and collection descriptions, and an integrated PDF viewer that makes examining documents easier. 

Primary source materials available in the Center’s digital collections may be protected under specific copyright restrictions. For more information about the Center's image policies, consult the Image Use Form and Research Collections Fee Schedule

The project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Expansion of the content on np3 is intended as funding and staffing conditions allow. If you would like to help fund this important endeavor, please contact Executive Director Dr. Harry F. Thompson. For additional information about the digitization efforts at CWS, please call 605.274.4007 or email

The Center for Western Studies was very proud to participate in another recent digital collections project, the Augustana Album. The Album is a free digital archive of Augustana University and Augustana Academy publications. It includes more than 40,000 pages of available yearbooks, student newspapers and creative arts publications, alumni publications, and school history monographs from 1899-present. In recent years, the archive has been expanded to include student research projects and links to works authored by Augustana faculty. Mikkelsen Library originally launched the program in celebration of Augustana's sesquicentennial, and CWS provided much of the raw material for digitization. Initial funding for the project came from the Mary Chilton DAR Foundation, the Midco Media Foundation, the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, a Granskou Award, alumni, and private donors.