• Glaciers

CU-Boulder Libraries, NSIDC win grant to digitize historical Glacier Photograph Collection

Crevasse in dissipator of Stockje Glacier. Aug. 11, 1894. Photographed by Harry F. Reid. Image Credit: Courtesy NSIDC Glacier Photograph Collection NSIDC Glacier Photograph Collection
An explorer nears a crevasse on Stockje Glacier in the Pennine Alps, Europe in 1894.  — Credit: Photograph by Harry Fielding Reid. 1894. Stockje Glacier: From the Glacier Photograph Collection. Boulder, Colorado USA: National Snow and Ice Data Center. Digital media

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) is part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The University of Colorado Boulder Libraries and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) are pleased to announce they have been awarded a $148,586 grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) to digitize NSIDC's glacier photograph collection. The project could uncover new scientific discoveries related to climate change.

NSIDC manages, archives and disseminates cryospheric and polar data that are in digital form. However, NSIDC also curates a collection of historical archival materials that recorded Earth's glaciated regions prior to modern data gathering methods. The award for the project, set to begin in March 2016, will allow for a dedicated archivist and graduate assistants to digitize, describe, and publish approximately 9,000 images dating back to the 1850s.

The project will complete the digitization of the archive's entire print glacier photograph collection. The images will be available in the University of Colorado Digital Library and NSIDC’s Glacier Photograph Collection.

"I’m excited to work with our partners at NSIDC on this project," said University Libraries associate professor and director for sciences Jack Maness. “Analog items such as these are extremely important to framing our understanding of the earth and how climate change has impacted it over the last two centuries. Providing unfettered access to these images, and ensuring their long term preservation so future generations may also access them, will be a valuable contribution to science and public discourse."

The grant is one of 18 awarded from CLIR’s Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives national competition, which is generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Principal Investigators from CU-Boulder include Maness, assistant professor and metadata librarian Michael Dulock, and assistant professor and digital archivist Walker Sampson. Other contributors include:

  • Florence Fetterer, sea-ice and data rescue expert at NOAA/NSIDC
  • Gloria Hicks, librarian at the Roger G. Barry Archives and Research Center (ARC) at NSIDC
  • Ruth Duerr, former data scientist/systems engineer at NSIDC, now at the Ronin Institute, and adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign
  • Allaina Wallace, former archivist at NSIDC and head librarian at the Denver Botanic Gardens
  • Katie Lage, associate professor and map librarian, and head of the Earth Sciences & Map Library at CU-Boulder

Media Contacts

Jack Maness
CU-Boulder Libraries, +1.303.492.4545

Natasha Vizcarra
National Snow and Ice Data Center, +1.303.492.1497