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JUNEAU - Sealaska Heritage Institute received a grant to create an online catalog of its archival and ethnographic collections and to catalog its book holdings in an online library database.
The two-year $148,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services will allow people to search SHI's archival and ethnographic holdings on the Internet by using keywords or browse searching for authors and subjects. The archival catalog will give descriptions of the materials, but people still will have to go to the institute's office to view the collections.
The project is a huge step forward in making the institute's materials more accessible to the public, said SHI Archivist Zachary Jones, noting for the first time a full listing of SHI's collections will be available via the Internet.
"This is going to transform the way we operate, up our effectiveness and hopefully bring more people in and serve people better," Jones said. "It allows us to let people know in a more effective way what we have and to bring them in here. We want people to use our materials. The most important part about having these great collections is getting people to use them."
To get a sense of SHI's collections, patrons currently must contact Jones directly or go to SHI's Juneau office to peruse catalogs of the institute's holdings, which include more than 5,000 publications, approximately 20,000 photographic images, roughly 1,000 cultural objects, nearly 2,500 media items, and more than 750 linear feet of manuscript material that document the history, culture, heritage and language of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska.
SHI's book holdings will be cataloged in the online Capital Cities Library Information Center, a catalog that is shared by the Juneau Public Library, the Alaska State Library, the University of Alaska/Southeast, and other libraries in the Juneau City and Borough area. The institute eventually will post links to the databases on its website at www.sealaskaheritage.org.
Sealaska Heritage Institute is a regional nonprofit representing the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska. Its mission is to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures.