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Digitize Alaska: Wait for It

Update: 2/9/2009 – While the Digitize America project is going forward, it turns out I accessed an early petition draft that is being reworked.  I’ve been asked by Internet Archive, the lead partner, to pull this draft while it is being reworked. So I’ve pulled the petition text but continue to praise the general concept.

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Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: I work in a library that would benefit from funding that this petition asks for. Feel free to take me with a grain of salt. I am speaking for myself and NOT for any institution, association, or government agency.

What if you could create jobs while expanding knowledge? What if you knew the money being given was going to an alliance of non-profit institutions that had already digitized 2 million books and other items in the last four years?

We can if you’ll support the “Digitize America; Create jobs, Democratize knowledge, Improve education” petition that will shortly be re-posted to the internet.

You’ll notice that I’ve titled this entry “Digitize Alaska” and not “Digitize America.” That’s because I wanted to highlight a few items that COULD be digitized if the federal government decided to fund the project described in the petition:

  • All Alaska newspapers printed before 1923 – This would be a boon to genealogists nationwide as well as to Alaskan historians.
  • All federal reports about Alaska printed up until the present day – We Alaskans know that the federal government has an outsized role in Alaska. We could have a complete digital library of every study and decision document they’ve made about us.
  • At least some manuscript collections from Alaskan pioneers. There is already a digital copy of Judge Wickersham’s diaries. Think about how many more diaries, letters and early photos from Alaska’s Gold Rush and early territorial pioneers could be digitized if only funding were available.

More ideas about what public domain (pre-1923, federal government) materials could be digitized for Alaska under this program can be found at:

Or check with your local library or archives and see what interesting public domain materials they have.

The exact items digitized would depend on a number of factors, including local interest from local library audiences.

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