Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Update on the Mountain West Digital Library

Web sites such as the Mountain West Digital Library are seldom mentioned in the online genealogical community unless, by chance, the blogger or researcher uses a resource and attributes its origin to that particular website. I last wrote about the website back in 2010, so it is about time that I returned to focusing on its resources.

There is a short article in the Research Wiki that outlines some of the content of the portal. Quoting from the Research Wiki article:
The Mountain West Digital Library is a search portal for an aggregation of digital collections from more than 50 universities, colleges, public libraries, museums, and historical societies in Utah, Nevada, and Idaho. It is in partnership with 60 academic libraries, public libraries, museums, historical societies, cities, counties, and state agencies from Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and Hawaii (coming soon: over 60 new partners in Arizona!) 
The Mountain West Digital Library provides access to over 704,000 resources in 405 collections including the following:
  • Photographs
  • Maps
  • Artworks
  • Videos and animations
  • Oral histories and sounds of the West
  • Pioneer diaries
  • Finding aids in EAD format
  • Books, theses, dissertations, and other scholarly publications
  • Teaching presentations and posters
  • Vital records
  • Government reports, bills, ordinances, meeting minutes
The Mountain West Digital Libary cooperates with the Digital Public Library of America in supplying access to over the 746,000 online, searchable items in its collection. Here is a map image of the Mountain West Digital Libary's partners.

Genealogists often exhibit a rather nearsighted and even astigmatic view of historically important resources and particularly those online. If the website doesn't have the word "genealogy" prominently associated with its content, the website is invisible to genealogical researchers. There is an interesting list of 71 Digital Portal to State History on the Library of Congress website but even using this list, you will find some of the links broken.

The truth is that the amount of information online has long ago exceeded anyone's or any organization's ability to ability to identify or index what is and what is not there. Also, as I have pointed out many times, very few genealogists have any degree of historical perspective at all about their research.

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