By GUY LAMOLINARA
Eleven institutions on April 28 shared seven awards totaling more than $540,000 in the second round of the three-year Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition. The competition is made possible by a $2 million gift to the Library from the Ameritech Foundation earmarked to digitize historically significant American collections and make them freely available on the Library's American Memory site.
North Dakota State University, one of last year's 10 award winners, has made available online its collection, "The Northern Great Plains, 1880-1920: Photographs from the Fred Hultstrand and F.A. Pazandak Photograph Collections." The more than 900 photographs in these collections document life on farms and in towns of the Great Plains at the turn of the century.
"Thanks to a generous gift from Ameritech, our program is able to continue its goal of being a truly national collaboration that is one of the major providers of intellectual content on the Internet," said Prosser Gifford, the Library's director of Scholarly Programs.
"For the Library of Congress, the value of working with Ameritech and these other institutions emphasizes the importance of the public-private partnerships we have formed, without which the National Digital Library could not perform the necessary, though expensive, work that needs to be done to make vital collections of primary sources available to all Americans through the Internet," he added.
Lana Porter, president of Ameritech Library Services -- who flew into Washington especially for the announcement -- said, "Today's winners are excellent representatives of the wonderful resources available in our nation's libraries, historical societies and other institutions."
George Farr, director of the Division of Preservation and Access of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Deanna Marcum, president of the Council on Library and Information Resources, oversaw the three panels that rated the nearly 70 applications from more than 30 states. Mr. Farr explained that the evaluation process involved assembling three independent panels of distinguished scholars, educators, archivists, librarians, administrators and technical specialists. These panelists rated the applications for historical significance, the availability and usability of aids to intellectual access, technical and administrative viability, and relevance to American Memory.
"The applications presented a marvelous variety of resources usually unavailable to the general public. The institutions involved have done a wonderful job of making these collections accessible to schoolteachers and students as well as scholars and the general public," Mr. Farr said.
Said Ms. Marcum: "This year more than ever, the applications demonstrated that libraries, historical societies, and museums are able and willing to undertake complex digitization projects and make their historical treasures available to all."
In the second year of the competition, the winning collections represent a wide range of political, social, cultural and economic developments in the United States -- from life of the American Indians, the settlement of Nebraska and development of the Everglades to early advertising in America and the Haymarket riots that led to the formation of the American Federation of Labor. In another collection, the Chautauqua movement provides insight into popular entertainment before the era of television.
"Congratulations to the award winners in this round of the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition," said Dr. Billington. "These worthwhile projects to be part of our American Memory collections will, through the Internet, provide important intellectual content to students, educators and lifelong learners."
The second-year winners are:
- Chicago Historical Society, Chicago, for "Haymarket Affair: Chicago Anarchists on Trial." Award amount: $57,260. This collection consists of approximately 5,500 pages/ images, including the complete original transcripts of the proceedings of the historic Haymarket trial.
- Duke University, Durham, N.C., for "The Emergence of Advertising in America, 1850-1920." Award amount: $75,000. This collection consists of 8,500 images relating to the history of advertising, including Eastman Kodak ads, tobacco related posters and insert cards, and ephemera representing ads for bicycles, patent medicines and food.
- Nebraska State Historical Society, Lincoln, Neb., for "Prairie Settlement: A Story of Determination." Award amount: $65,464. This collection consists of 5,500 glass plate negatives of images recording the process of settlement of Nebraska from 1886 to 1912 and selections from diaries and letters written by the Oblinger family as they moved from Indiana to settle in a sod house on the prairie.
- Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., for "North American Indian Photographs by Edward S. Curtis." Award amount: $49,777. This collection consists of 2,222 plates from Edward S. Curtis's work documenting the culture and daily life of about 80 Native American tribes in the 20th century.
- University of Iowa, Iowa City, for "Traveling Culture: Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century." Award amount: $73,348. This collection consists of 9,600 flyers and promotional pamphlets representing text and images from performers and public speakers, including educational, cultural and religious lecturers, politicians, and vaudeville and variety acts.
- University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fla., for "Reclaiming the Everglades: South Florida's Natural History, 1884-1934." Award amount: $137,188. The collection will include materials from the University of Miami, Florida International University and the Historical Museum of South Florida. The collection documents the history of South Florida, especially the Everglades, a unique subtropical ecosystem with a rich, troubled history.
- University of Washington, Seattle, for "American Indians of the Pacific Northwest." Award amount: $82,943. The collection will include materials from the University of Washington, the Eastern Washington State Historical Society in Spokane and the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle. It consists of 2,350 pictorial images and 6,000 pages of manuscripts, printed ephemera and journal articles concerning Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest from 1763 to 1920.
Additional information on the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition, including project summaries of award recipients, is available at the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition Web site.