By CRAIG D'OOGE
Maps and photographs from the Elmer E. Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg and the Russian State Library in Moscow are now available online at the "Meeting of Frontiers" Web site, international.loc.gov.
"Meeting of Frontiers" is a congressionally funded project to create a bilingual, English-Russian digital library that chronicles the experiences of the United States and Russia in exploring, developing and settling their frontiers and the meeting of those frontiers in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. With these additions, the site includes approximately 80,000 images from the project partner institutions in the United States and Russia. These items—rare books, maps, manuscripts, photographs, films and sound recordings—tell the story of the explorers, fur traders, missionaries, exiles, gold miners and adventurers who peopled these frontiers and their interactions with the native peoples of Siberia and the American West.
The Library of Congress is lending high-resolution digitizing equipment to libraries in Moscow, St. Petersburg and several Siberian cities to use in scanning unique and rare materials relating to the frontiers theme. The Library is also working with the University of Alaska Fairbanks to acquire digital copies of rare materials relating to Alaska. Scanning operations in Siberia will be carried out with support from the Open Society Institute of Russia.
Among the materials added to "Meeting of Frontiers" as a result of these partnerships are 62 maps that document the discovery and mapping of Alaska and the North Pacific; Views of Sakhalin Island, an album of photographs taken in the 1890s that provide rare glimpses of life in this Russian penal colony; and The Clipper Ship Razboinik, an album from the photograph collection of Czar Nicholas II that documents the 1889 Arctic voyage of the clipper Razboinik (Pirate). Other collections are being digitized and will be added to the "Meeting of Frontiers" site in 2001-2002.
"Meeting of Frontiers" is the Library's first major digital project involving international material and extensive cooperation with foreign institutions to obtain digital images for the Library's collections. It is the first component of "International Horizons," an international digital library project that builds upon the Library's National Digital Library Program.
Mr. D'Ooge is a public affairs specialist in the Public Affairs Office.