Iowa State University received a 2016 Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives Award, a program of the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), which is generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. With this $188,825 award, the ISU Library will establish the Avian Archives of Iowa Online (avIAn), which will be a portal for digital Iowa ornithological primary sources dating from 1895 to 2012. The collections selected for the project document over one hundred years of bird study in Iowa and include the work of some of the most influential conservationists in the Midwest.
Eight collections will document a wide range of ornithology activities in Iowa in the last century:
By design, the finished avIAn will feature the digitized items as scientific data and archival materials. This expands the scope of potential educational uses of avIAn to include the humanities.
“One of the most exciting aspects of avIAn will be its broad appeal, to scientists, to humanists, and for general educational use,” said Dean of Library Services Beth McNeil. “I am delighted ISU has been selected for a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) 2016 Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives Award, and we are grateful to CLIR and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for this support.”
Approximately 13,600 documents, 2,124 images, 14 field journals, and 7 audiovisual recordings will be freely accessible online and available for education and personal reuse when the project is complete. avIAn will be a collaborative space for other archives that hold ornithological collection materials from Iowa and the Mississippi Flyway.
“We are thrilled to receive this award. The holdings of the Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives comprise incredibly rich resources for Midwest ornithology research,” said Digital Initiatives Archivist Kimberly Anderson, Principal Investigator. “However, none of these are accessible online and some of the collections are also on restricted physical access due to the fragility of the materials.”
While a digital initiatives project which will comprise SCUA materials, securing this award is a University Library-wide effort and involved departments in every division. Work on the avIAn is scheduled to begin in May.
The Council on Library and Information Resources is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning.
Founded in 1969, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work.