Lessons from Save America's Treasures
New Report Provides Case Studies of 21 SAT Grantees

Every now and again it is useful to take a look at past programs and reflect on what we learned. I had the great pleasure of working on such a project over the last several months. The American Architectural Foundation asked us to assist with an evaluation of the Save America’s Treasures project that was funded by the federal government from 1999-2010 through the National Park Service and its partner…

View Blog Post


Save America's Treasures: Impact and Lessons

As part of the National Historic Preservation Fund, Save America’s Treasures awarded nearly 500 grants between 1999 and 2010 through the National Park Service, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services to preserve collections that embody the American story. The collections contain major parts of the nation’s artistic, social,…


Appraising our Digital Investment
Sustainability of Digitized Special Collections in ARL Libraries

Sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and conducted by Ithaka S+R, this study provides insight into how ARL libraries are managing and funding the hundreds of digitized special collections they have created and that they believe to be critical to their futures. This is the first survey of ARL institutions that specifically attempts to understand and benchmark the…


American Antiquarian Society
Worcester, Massachusetts

Building a comprehensive digital collection and creating a vital revenue stream through commercial partnerships The American Antiquarian Society (AAS), an independent research library and scholarly society, has a clearly defined mission: to collect everything published and printed in America prior to 1877. The AAS has traditionally operated from a small endowment and contributions. But in 2002, Readex, a publisher of…


Biodiversity Heritage Library
Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Sustainable growth through collaborative partnerships The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), created in 2006, is the result of a collaboration of ten natural history museum and botanical garden libraries seeking to digitize core taxonomic literature and to make it free and openly available throughout the world. Today, the BHL includes fifteen member institutions whose efforts have shaped a collection of over…


Home Economics Archive: Research, Tradition and History
Cornell University

Upfront investment in user-friendly back-end systems allows for continual growth The Home Economics Archive: Research, Tradition and History (HEARTH) is a digitized collection of academic and popular monographs and journals comprising the core literature of home economics, or, as it is more commonly known today, human ecology. Created at Cornell University’s Mann Library, which serves primarily Cornell’s College of Agriculture…


Grateful Dead Archive Online
University of California at Santa Cruz

Cultivating a targeted user group for support and content Few archives come with a built-in fan base. The Grateful Dead Archive Online is distinguished from many other academic special collections by the variety of media it holds, from concert tickets to audio files and art created by fans of the band, and by its potential audience, the many thousands of…


Maine Memory Network
Maine Historical Society

Investing in distributed capacity-building for continuous growth The Maine Memory Network, referred to as “Maine’s Statewide Digital Museum,” created by the Maine Historical Society, provides a shared space for cultural institutions throughout the state to scan and host images, documents, and artifacts from their collections. By initially framing the project as a partnership and investing in concentrated outreach and training,…


Quakers and Slavery
Haverford College

Shared infrastructure supports long-term sustainability and modest growth Launched in 2009, Quakers and Slavery is an online collection of letters, images, and other materials related to the role of Quakers in the American abolition movement. A collaboration between Haverford College and Swarthmore College, the collection aligns closely with the missions of these Quaker-founded institutions. Quakers and Slavery is one of…


Vanderbilt Television News Archive
Vanderbilt University

Securing institutional support for a national mission On August 5, 1968, Vanderbilt University Libraries (then, the Joint University Libraries) began recording, preserving, and providing access to the news broadcasts of the three national networks. Since then, Vanderbilt has captured more than 40,000 hours of news broadcasts, creating the largest collection of American broadcast news in the world. Most remarkable about…