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IMLS funding Alaskan archives access!

Over the past 12 years we’ve received grant funding from the Institution of Museum and Library Services, an independent federal agency working to support the efforts of libraries and museums all over the nation. Our grant awards from IMLS (through the Alaska State Library’s Interlibrary Cooperation Grant program) since 2004 total $69,465.00.

This funding has supported: the creation of a website dedicated to archival sources all over Alaska relating to the 1964 earthquake, digitization and metadata cataloging on materials from several collections which were added into the Alaska’s Digital Archives, the development of baseline time and cost measurements for the work we do to describe collections and make them accessible, and the purchase of a copy stand, lighting, and digital camera to allow us to do photographs of oversize documents. By the way, the earthquake resources website was awarded the 2013 Alaska State Historical Records Advisory Board‘s Award for Archival Excellence.

More specifically, the Digital Archives-related projects? With that funding we digitized, cataloged, and uploaded over 3,000 items. Most of those were photographs, but a few diaries and documents were included too. That’s about one-fifth of the materials we’ve put into the Digital Archives from our collections since we started that project in 2002. These include images from Lawrence Eastman who served on a Coast Guard buoy tender in the Aleutians and Bristol Bay from 1949 to 1951, images from Alan May who took part in three of Ales Hrdlicka’s anthropological expeditions to the Aleutians in the 1930s, images and a diary from the U.S. Army expedition through Cook Inlet and into the interior in 1898 led by Lieutenant Glenn, and about 1500 images and documents of the effects of the 1964 earthquake on southcentral Alaska.

You’ll see that we’ve focused quite a bit on grants aimed at putting things into the Alaska’s Digital Archives. We know that the Digital Archives is quite popular with researchers all over the world: we hear it all the time! But it is a costly effort and a time-consuming one as well and we don’t always have the internal resources to do everything we’d like toward putting materials in. The goals of the ILC grant program match up with Digital Archives work well, or so we think, anyhow. With this funding we’ve been able to hire employees to complete grant work, though in a few cases we’ve used it to offset our direct personnel costs.

We want to thank IMLS and the Alaska State Library for making these projects possible for us and for the people who need online access to these materials. We look forward to applying for more of these grants in coming years, too.

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