Creation of an Arctic Digital Library

Partner Collection Digitization on Alaska and the Circumpolar North

The aim of this project has been to digitize Alaskan and Circumpolar collections from partner museums, libraries, and archives in Alaska and the Lower 48 (and ultimately Canada, Scandinavia, and Russia as possible) that will feed into an Arctic Digital Library platform that will both integrate and curate content for researchers and the public and make them easily discoverable through new search algorithms and indexing tools.

This project has made great progress in already scanning hundreds of thousands of images from a variety of partner institutions through previous grants from the Rasmuson Foundation, the National Archives (NARA), and the State of Alaska among others, and has networked with a range of large institutional partners such as the Smithsonian and Dartmouth to help scope out and anchor the initiative long-term.

Select prior partner digitization results below (current work ongoing with new partners):

SLED main page

Alaska Native Cultures in the Collections of Sheldon Jackson

Sheldon Jackson Manuscript Collection and Miscellaneous Papers (mostly on Alaska in the 19th century) from Princeton Theological Seminary

Sheldon Jackson Papers (mostly on Alaska in the 19th century) from the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia

Ethnographic Expedition to Alaska and Northeastern Asia

Jesup North Pacific Expedition (1897-1902) Collection from the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH)

Images and Ethnographic Records from the famous Jesup North Pacific Expedition that stretched from Alaska into North Asia

Whaling on the North Slope

Whaling Collection from the Martha’s Vineyard Museum (high concentration of ships that traveled to the North Slope of Alaska in the 19th century):

Nicholson Whaling Collection from the Providence Public Library (PPL), Rhode Island

Whaling Journals (including many ships that traveled to the North Slope of Alaska in the 19th century):

Whaling Photos (including many ships that traveled to the North Slope of Alaska in the 19th century):

Story of the Confederate commerce raider CSS Shenandoah sinking Yankee whaling ships off Alaska and in the Bering Strait at the end of the U.S. Civil War (1864-65)

Civil War Collection from the State Archives of North Carolina (SANC)

The materials are digitized and in the online Civil War Collection

American voyages hunting for sea otter pelts by the “Boston Men” in Southeast Alaska for the China Trade and foreign negotiations concerning Russia America

Maritime Collections and other materials from the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS)

Voyage of the Columbia Rediviva, first Boston ship to travel to Vancouver Island and the Pacific Northwest in 1787 in search of sea otter pelts for the China Trade

This volume contains the diary William Steuben Smith, kept on a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia, as private secretary to John Quincy Adams, U.S. minister to Russia, 16 July-29 Oct. 1809, and a letter book containing drafts of Smith’s outgoing correspondence, 19 July 1811-14 April 1820. Some entries refer to Russian America (Alaska).

Meeting of Frontiers Web Project (Library of Congress)

This project was launched by James Billington, Librarian of Congress, and Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) on the parallel frontier history of Russia and the United States that met in Alaska