Preservation and Access: Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

Period of Performance

5/1/2010 - 5/31/2012

Funding Totals

$315,000.00 (approved)
$315,000.00 (awarded)

Saving and Sharing the American Geographical Society Library's Historic Nitrate Negative Images

FAIN: PW-50572-10

University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (Milwaukee, WI 53211-3153)
Christopher M. Baruth (Project Director: July 2009 to August 2012)

The digitization and rehousing of 56,000 nitrate photographic negatives that document landscapes, streetscapes, and human cultures around the world.

The American Geographical Society Library (AGSL), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, seeks funding to reformat and preserve its large collection of cellulose nitrate photographic negatives. The negatives are an important part of the AGSL photography collection of an estimated 440,000 images. This valuable collection in the AGSL, one of America's oldest, largest, and most distinguished geographical research libraries, is a significant aspect of the million plus objects in the AGS Library. Specifically, this proposal is to procure the resources necessary to scan, create metadata, safely re-house, and store the AGSL's 56,000 nitrate negatives. The ultimate goal of the project is to provide universal Internet access to these images, which will be a formidable addition to the AGSL Digital Photo Archive already on-line at This document is a re-submission of a proposal submitted to NEH in July 2008.