American MemoryThe National Digital Library Program: Archived Documentation

The Library of Congress / Ameritech National Digital Library Competition (1996-1999)


Lessons Learned: Publicity and Other Outcomes

One common outcome reported for photographic collections has been an increase in requests for reproductions. Another has been feedback from individuals suggesting corrections or amplifications for descriptions. Many awardees mentioned benefits from publicity as a result of the award.


University of North Carolina

Online Collection: First-Person Narratives of the American South, 1860-1920
Online Collection: The Church in the Southern Black Community, 1780-1925


The University of North Carolina won two awards (in 1996/97 and 1998/99) for collections of books that were transcribed and marked up in SGML. After the first collection was complete, Pat Dominguez noted:

  1. The project received a tremendous amount of publicity. Articles about it appeared in almost every newspaper in North Carolina...and in major newspapers around the country, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today. We were on television twice. Faculty recommended the site to their colleagues in Southern Studies around the country.

  2. This grant from the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition has enabled us to go from the pilot project stage to a fully developed digitization program in the library. It was the catalyst that helped us identify the issues we needed to address, find the faculty, librarians, and staff to help us resolve them, and develop the infrastructure to manage the selection, preservation, cataloging, subject access, web presence, and publicity of future projects.
Denver Public Library

Online Collection: History of the American West, 1860-1920

Denver Public Library has an ambitious digitization program for its outstanding photograph collections. Contributing records to American Memory provided increased visibility for the content.

In the final report, Jennifer Thom mentioned:

  1. By making the images and records available to the public, we receive a lot of feedback and new information. Numerous dates are changed, new identifications added, erroneous information deleted.
University of MIami, with Florida International University and the Historical Museum of Southern Florida

Online Collection: Reclaiming the Everglades: South Florida's Natural History, 1884-1934

This consortial project proved both challenging and rewarding to the institutions.

In an interim report, William Brown noted:

  1. Consortial projects, particularly ones that involve a level of technology such as this endeavor, benefit greatly from "face-to-face" meetings of participants on a regular basis. Although much of the work can be accomplished through e-mail and telephone exchanges, all participants benefit from group meetings.

  2. We should not underestimate the "public relations" benefits from receiving an American Memory grant. Both the award of the grant and subsequent newspaper and media coverage of the project have increased interest (and research use) in selected collections.

In the project's final report, Don Bosseau reported:

  1. The University of Miami, the Historical Museum of South Florida, and Florida International University would all like to see a continuation of this project or similar initiatives. The Everglades and its history are currently of great interest to the people of Florida as well as the rest of the nation.