The May 2018 issue of Downeast Magazine included a feature on a growing collection of historical content that we’ve been working on in collaboration with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. The project includes nearly 1,100 reports and publications from the agency’s past that have been imaged on Maine State Library scanners and uploaded to the DigitalMaine repository . The digitized collection includes law books, research on wildlife and fisheries management issues and informational publications on agency activities. The entire collection can be found here: www.digitalmaine.com/ifw
One of my favorite parts of the project is the digitized collection of the agency’s Fish and Wildlife magazines dating all the way back to the first issue that was published in 1959. Copies of the magazine can be downloaded in high resolution or viewed in “flip-book” format in the IFW digital archive. Download versions of the magazine were imaged in very high resolution and will require a computer with good memory and a fast internet connection.
Some of the earliest items in the collection include Commissioner reports dating back to the 1867. A separate section in the repository is dedicated to news bulletins and statewide field reports and provides for particularly entertaining reading about the day-to-day activities and challenges of wardens and agency staff in the field.
The project also included scanning of thousands of historical photographs and slides from IFW files that date as far back as the 1940s. The images include IFW staff, agency projects, structures, wildlife and scenes from around Maine.
Unfortunately, we don’t have great metadata to accompany the pictures that were digitized. The photo collection had been stored by the agency in file folders and were sorted by a simple subject heading (i.e., deer, conservation education, boating safety, etc.). Staff from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will be looking through the photos with the goal of adding further descriptive elements to the content. They’ve also activated a comment feature on the gallery to allow the crowd sourcing of metadata from others.
In terms of scope, this is the largest collaboration we’ve had to date with a state agency. IF&W commissioner, Chandler Woodcock, was very enthusiastic about sharing the history of the organization and opened the doors for us to have access to their archives. Lisa Kane, IF&W education coordinator, and Peter Bourque, a recently retired bureau director from the agency helped us narrow in on items that should be prioritized for scanning.
The next phase of the project will involve the addition of film and videos from the agency and the digitization of more IFW publications from the past. For more information about accessing the collection or to share historical documents or images with the project, contact the Maine State Library directly at email@example.com.