KRUA’s Informania explores the UA College Savings Plan & Alaska 529, & UA Scholars Program! Monday, Sept. 17, 1pm-2pm, replayed Friday, 1pm-2pm

Happy National College Savings Month!  On Monday, September 17, Deb the Librarian interviews Lael Oldmixon, the Executive Director of the University of Alaska Scholars Program and the College Savings Plan. Discover how Alaska 529 impacts the University of Alaska! Listen and be informed!

September 8 is International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day, celebrated annually on the 8th of September since it began in 1965, is an opportunity for governments, civil society, and stakeholders to highlight improvements in world literacy rates, and reflect on the world’s remaining literacy challenges. The issue of literacy is a key component of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This year’s theme, ‘Literacy and Skills Development,’ explores integrated approaches to support literacy and skills that will ultimately improve people’s lives and work, and contribute to equitable and sustainable societies. International Literacy Day specifically focuses on skills and competencies required for employment, careers, and livelihoods, particularly technical, vocational, and digital skills.

Get involved in supporting literacy efforts where you live through the Alaska Literacy Program or the Literacy Council of Alaska.

–adapted from the International Literacy Day website.

 

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New in the Archives: August 2018

August was quite a busy month for us in the Archives. We finally finished our legacy conversion project, gave tours to students who dropped by to see what we have, and spoke to donors and new faculty. Here’s a closer look at what we were up to.

Collections described

HMC-0425: Charles S. Harvard papers; 1912-1973. 0.4 cubic foot addition. Harvard was an engineer for the Alaska Railroad. The collection includes field books and ledgers of data and hand drawn maps of the Alaska Railroad right of ways, lease holders and plat information on properties adjacent to rail lines, locations of utilities and public services, plans for redirecting and refurbishing rail lines, descriptions of mile post and bench marks, arc, curve and angle calculations for theoretical and practical applications, and temperature conversion calculations.

Charles Harvard underneath the road sign for Harvard Ave, which he named for himself. Photograph from: Betzi and Lyman Woodman papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

HMC-0478: Marilynn S. Barks papers; circa 1939-1961. 0.10 cubic foot addition. This collection contains personal papers and correspondence relating to Marilynn S. Barks’s life in Alaska. The majority of correspondence concerns her husband and his work in the mines, as well as life in Anchorage during WWII. Other correspondents include her brother Jack, Charles Seaton Harvard, L.S. Wickersham, relatives outside of Alaska, merchants, and an astrologer. The personal papers include insurance policies and receipts, as well as tax forms and mining claim information.

HMC-0667: Arctic Power records; circa 1978-2003. 35 cubic feet. Records of an organization that supports opening the Coastal Plain of ANWR to responsible oil development.

HMC-0687: Frederick Milan papers; 1870-1995, bulk 1942-1995. 9.5 cubic feet. Milan was an anthropologist, linguist, and human physiologist who worked in Alaska and other Arctic regions.

HMC-1296: Bob and Gayle Curtis photograph albums; 1965-1983. 0.8 cubic feet.  The collection consists of five photograph albums created by or given to Bob and Gayle Curtis, mostly relating to Tikchik Narrows Lodge. The earliest album, dating from 1966 to 1970,  documents family life, including the birth and early childhood of the couple’s son, Robert, as well as activities such as camping, fishing, and the building of Tikchik Narrows Lodge. The other four albums document fishing trips to Tikchik Narrows Lodge. Subjects of the photographs in these albums include groups of people, Tikchik Narrows Lodge, fishing, boats, airplanes, and scenery.

HMC-1297: Millard Preston photographs; 1941-1944. 0.01 cubic feet. The collection consists of photographs taken by Millard Preston during his time working on construction of the Alaska Highway in Alaska and Yukon, as well as some photographs from the Aleutian Islands, particularly Adak.

HMC-1298: Melvin Reed Mower papers; 1942-1943. 0.01 cubic feet. Mostly photographs of a man who worked on the Whittier Tunnel and on Rugged Island in Resurrection Bay. Subjects of the photographs include Portage Lake and Glacier, Rugged Island, Whittier, a fishery, a hike Mower and others went on where they found and buried the body of Jack O’Brian, and the construction of the road at Bear Valley, Portage.

Portage Lake from the Melvin Reed Mower papers.

We also added several ephemera collections.

EPH-0399: Fort Richardson Chapel Center church service programs; 1958, 1959.

Fort Richardson Chapel Center church service program

EPH-0400: Music with Mary Martin program; undated.

EPH-0401: Sheldon Jackson High School and Junior College leaflet; undated.

EPH-0402: Alaska tourism pamphlets; undated, 1957, 1958.

EPH-0403: Fort Richardson Officers Club memorabilia; 1958, 1959.

Napkin from Fort Richardson Officers Club memorabilia

EPH-0404: Alaskan Concert Tour Boston University Glee Club program; 1958.

EPH-0405: Anchorage Kiwanis Club “A Project with a Dual Purpose” pamphlet; undated.

EPH-0406: Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Foundation of Alaska, Inc. pamphlets.

EPH-0407: U.S. Army “Information about Fort Richardson” booklet.

EPH-0408: Anchorage High School. Thespian Troupe 700 “The Little Dog Laughed” program; 1958 February 14-15.

EPH-0409: Valdez Breeze newsletter; 1958 June 21.

EPH-0410: Fort Richardson Officers Wives Club booklet and calendar; 1957-1958.

Front cover of Fort Richardson Officers Wives Club booklet

EPH-0411: Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson Armed Forces Day program; 1958 May 17.

EPH-0412: Fort Richardson Protestant Parish The Chapel Chimes newsletters; 1958.

Collections converted to current standard

August saw the end of a project we were all looking forward to completing: the conversion of our older collection descriptions into the currently accepted national standard for describing archives (DACS or Describing Archives: A Content Standard). You can read more about that project and why it was important to us in Arlene’s blog post “Finishing a decade-long project“.

HMC-0109: Victor Fischer papers; 1950-2009. This collection consists of papers relating to the public career of Victor Fischer. Included are files relating to his legislative activities as well as to his work in planning. Among the legislative papers are files on reform and ethics, petrochemical development, the Homan trial, the Sheffield impeachment, and other matters.

HMC-0192: Old Believers naturalization ceremonies recordings; 1975, 1979.  Recordings of naturalization ceremonies for members of the Old Believers living in Alaska.

HMC-0198: People’s Vote Must Count Committee records; 1959-1981, bulk 1981. Records of a committee that supported the creation of a park on block 42 of Downtown Anchorage, instead of a convention center.

HMC-0204: Potter Section House report and plans; 1980-1986. The collection consists of a copy of a report recommending the preservation and reuse of the Potter Section House, written by the Municipal Historic Landmarks Preservation Committee. There is also a Potter Section House “Site Development Plan” and two site maps created by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation.

HMC-0224: Evan Lester Sitter film; 1948. This collection consists of a VHS videocassette copy of a color 16mm film made by Sitter while on the trip to Alaska in 1948. The trip included stops at Glacier National Park, the Canadian Border Customs Building, Dawson, the Peace River Bridge, Fort Nelson, Lake Louise, Laird Lodge, the Alaska/Yukon Border, Fairbanks, Nome, Kotzebue, Copper Center, Thompson Pass, Valdez, Juneau, Ketchikan, and Seattle. Included are pictures of mountains, rivers, waterfalls, glaciers, lakes, buffalo, bears, a fish wheel, ships, and planes.

HMC-0235: Dale A. Stirling papers; 1980-1986. This collection includes materials related to Heritage North and files of Poetry North Review.

HMC-0240: Alexander W. Swanitz letters; 1909-1910. This collection consists of two copied letters from A. W. Swanitz to George Love of Valdez, Alaska. The first concerns business concerns and the second relates to construction of the Alaska Northern Railway and politics.

HMC-0340: Elvera Voth papers; 1961-1978. The collection consists of papers relating to Elvera Voth’s work at Anchorage Community College, Alaska Methodist University, and the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and with the Sunday Afternoon Concert series. Included are concert programs, letters of appreciation, photographs, newspaper clippings, and similar papers.

HMC-0390: Thirteenth Regional Corporation records; 1971-1997.  Records relating to the administration and operation of the Thirteenth Regional Corporation. Included are records relating to the board, the shareholders, the management of the corporation, corporate finances, subsidiaries and business ventures, law cases, corporate land claims, and corporate publications.

HMC-0391: Historic American Engineering Record Cape Spencer Light Station records; 1923-1973. The collection consists primarily of elevation plans; electrical and mechanical drawings; and as built drawings of the interior and exterior of Cape Spencer Light Station

HMC-0433: Robert Wethern papers.; undated, 1973-1994. This collection consists of Robert Wethern’s papers regarding proposed articles and a book concerning the life of Grenold Collins, an Alaskan wildlife agent, guide, pilot, and sportsman.

Additions to Alaska’s Digital Archives

32 images from Jukichi (Jack) Nishida photographs; HMC-1291. Nishida worked for the Ellamar Mining Company from circa 1913-1918.

Three men in Ellamar. Jukichi Nishida is the man in the middle. From: Jukichi (Jack) Nishida photographs.

24 images from the Elmer Sundsby papers; HMC-0238. Sundsby was a fisherman in Halibut Cove, Alaska.

Carl Berg and Hannah Valentine in Seldovia, 1954. From: Elmer F. Sundsby papers.

6 images from Melvin Reed Mower papers; HMC-1298. Photographs taken during the construction of the Whittier Tunnel and Portage Glacier Road.

68 images from McGlashan and Monsen family photographs; HMC-1278. Photographs primarily taken in Naknek and Akutan.

Topic guides

We also created two new topic guides. One topic guide contains our collections which relate to aviation in Alaska. The other topic guide contains our collections which relate to Seward, Alaska, including the 1964 Earthquake, the Jesse Lee Home, military presence, and the Seward Sanatorium. It is important to remember that our topic guides are not comprehensive.

Aviation collections

Seward, Alaska related collections 

Other happenings

This month, for our podcast Archiving AK, our intern, Anna, interviewed us. In this episode we discuss what we hope to see for the future of the archives profession, what skills and knowledge we would like new professional archivists to have obtained in their archives classes, the role of professional associations in our work and development, and the types of things we wish people knew about our work.

We spoke at New Faculty orientation, had visits with donors and potential donors, and gave individual and group tours to the family of a donor, students, and potential donor.

We also had a booth at Campus Kick-off to chat with students and faculty about the Archives.

Gwen and Veronica at Campus Kick-off.

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Archiving AK episode 5: Anna the Intern interviews us

In episode 5 of Archiving AK, Anna, our grad intern over the summer, took some time out of her last week with us to interview us for the podcast. The discussion goes into topics like what we hope for/see for the future of the archives profession, what skills and knowledge we would like new professional archivists to have obtained in their archives classes, the role of professional associations in our work and development, and the types of things we wish people knew about our work.

Thanks to Anna for all her accomplishments over the summer, for putting together a fascinating set of questions for us, and ably handling discussion traffic control with three very verbal archivists!

Here’s links to some of the organizations and items mentioned in the podcast:

1:25 UCLA term positions letter

15:15 Newsbank (we use it a lot for access to obituaries and other news items when writing biographical notes for finding aids)

19:25 SAA: Society of American Archivists

21:50 Northwest Archivists

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The UAA historic photo scavenger hunt!

Fabulous prizes to be won! Are you a UAA student enrolled this fall? Think you might know your way around campus or want to try finding your way around campus? We have 8 historic photos taken on the UAA campus. Your task, should you accept it, is to find these locations and re-photograph them.

Here’s the details:

How it works:

  • Put together a team of 3-6 people, all of whom must be registered for classes at UAA in the Fall 2018 semester. Nobody can serve on more than one team.
  • Select one teammate to be your designated photographer
  • Stay safe! Don’t take any chance of injuring yourselves or others (and please, please, please, don’t climb on the artwork!)
  • Go look for the locations depicted in these photos and retake the photos with your group in them. Remember, you’re looking for the location (i.e. buildings) as some elements may have been moved. Please don’t move furniture, plants, etc to get your picture.
  • All members of your group, except the designated photographer, must be in each photograph
  • Post the photos to Instagram and make sure you tag the Archives @clarchives and use the hashtag #picturinguaa with each image (make sure it’s a public account so we can see them)
  • Email the Archives uaa_archives@alaska.edu by 5 pm on 9/4 with a list of your team members and the name of the Instagram account where you posted the images
  • We want to share your work with the world so we may grab them and share them via our social media accounts (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook): by participating in the challenge you’re agreeing that it’s okay for us to do that

Prizes for:

  • The first team to complete the challenge—we’ll be using the date stamp on the email to the Archives to determine this ($20.00 UAA Bookstore gift certificate to each team member) so don’t wait til 9/4 to notify us if you finish sooner!
  • The most creative recreation of a photograph as agreed upon by the archivists and maybe a couple of celebrity UAA judges ($20.00 UAA Bookstore gift certificate to each team member)

Here’s the 8 photos (click on them to see a larger view):

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Finishing a decade-long project

When I took over as head of Archives and Special Collections in June of 2007, I had a lot of goals for the department. Most of those were user-focused and revolved around simplified access to collections. One of the things on my target list was our finding aids.

The original collection description for the Margaret Heller papers. Click to see a readable version.

Our finding aids, while having the basics necessary to an archival guide, weren’t very navigable. Sections of the guide weren’t labeled, so people coming upon the guides in a web search wouldn’t know what the numbers on each line item in a container list meant. And it could vary: sometimes it was a box, sometimes it was a folder, sometimes it was an item. The guides were full of abbreviations that might not mean anything to a researcher and judging by our reference requests often didn’t: people didn’t know that cu. ft. was short for cubic foot and worse, that it was some sort of hint to them as to the size of the collection. (.2 cu. ft. = small, 123.4 cu. ft. = large collection, probably with 120 boxes of material or more). How about the elements that simply weren’t in those inventories: like who owned the copyright to the material in the collection? Or was any of the collection available online? What does that HMC-0398 thing mean anyhow? Add in some inconsistent numbering systems for the inventories such as one 18 box collection that had 16 boxes numbered 1, and I was done with that.

One of the first things I did in the summer and fall of 2007 was to build a finding aid template and the guidelines for filling it in. I don’t know if you’ve noticed this about archival research, but unlike MARC records for library cataloging, there is no national or international format standard for archival description. There’s a lot of standards around archival description content that are nationally accepted like “use undated, not n.d.” and a creator name should follow “this construction” and a scope and content note should include “this type of information”, but there’s nothing that says “this piece of information shows up in this order in the finding aid.” So in building ours, I wanted to both meet the currently accepted national content standard of DACS (Describing Archives: a Content Standard) and to also use a format for the guides that would make them easily exportable into one of the national databases of archival holdings were we to eventually be able to join in on one of those.  Logically the format standard for us to use was the one being promoted by the then Northwest Digital Archives (now ArchivesWest) so we took that, renamed and re-ordered a few things to meet our specific collection needs, and we started to use that for any new collection description we were doing. Which was great! Our new finding aids were looking terrific and even if they still presented some challenges for researchers at least we were able to provide much quicker reference assistance because we could navigate things faster. And no more than one Box 1 per collection! Plus if we were ever able to join up in one of those national databases of archival holdings, the sections of the finding aid were granular enough that a mass export to a different format would be more easily achieved.

But we still had a problem. About 750 problems, actually. All those old finding aids that had been created prior to fall 2007? Were still in the same old format. Were still as non-navigable. Still had all those references to cu. ft. And nobody ever recognized that the HMC- reference was the call number for the collection. Not to mention all those unlabeled numbers elsewhere in the collection: were those folders? Items? And how was the user supposed to know that 30 photographs from the collection had been digitized and placed on the Alaska’s Digital Archives?

That’s a long way of getting to the point: which is that I hate legacy finding aids. They’re a constant drain on you when you’re doing reference, they’re a challenge to researchers, and though I’m not terribly obsessive about these things, having multiple formats for finding aids is just a messy way of doing business. And so in December of 2007, we embarked on a legacy finding aid conversion project. A bit too Pollyannish of me, I admit, I thought this would be a pretty short project. I knew that we’d have to massage a lot of the data in the existing guides to fit our new standard, but I didn’t count on a few other things. Like as we were going through one of these, we might spot serious errors in the guides. Things that weren’t described as they could be. Things that never should have been appraised as archival. Boxes that were half empty for no reason. (Did I mention we were also getting low on vault space?) Records arrangements that were far more complicated than they needed to be. Materials that were on the shelf but not reflected in the finding aids (more than a few boxes sitting there labeled “miscellaneous” or worse “moldy” or even worse “nitrate film.” Did I just say something about things that weren’t described as they could be?) Recent or not-so-recent additions to the collections that hadn’t been added to the finding aid. Plus we were getting more reference questions, more new collections, we wanted to keep adding materials to the Alaska’s Digital Archives, we wanted to put a dent in our very large undescribed backlog, and the very realistic fact that all of us could only do so many of these conversions before we wanted to go screaming into the vault. So the legacy project kept looming over us.

We did a few concentrated bursts of work on it. One time I made the crew a deal: get 60 conversions done in one week and I’d make baklava for everybody. Okay, so we chose the simplest of the conversions and yes, I did my equal share, but we even went over that number. Who knew homemade baklava was such a motivator? But this conversion project really felt like the project that would never die.

The updated version of the Margaret Heller papers inventory. Note how all the sections of it have labels! Click to see a more readable version.

Only it did die. Yesterday. As of today, we have no legacy finding aids.

Yes, there was cake.

Cake!

Are there more finding aid changes to come? No doubt. We’ve already amended the template a few times since late 2007, like adding a field about access to born-digital materials for the collections for which it is relevant, and we’re seeing more and more of those these days. Moving it into a database format that would allow for easier searching of specific fields would be nice. But now, right now, upgrades and migrations just became a whole lot simpler.

Thanks to all the student workers, volunteers, and interns who chipped away at a section of this huge project, and to all the archivists who put even bigger holes in it: Nicole Jackelen, Kathy Bouska, Mariecris Gatlabayan, Megan Friedel, Veronica Denison, Jay Sylvestre, and Gwen Higgins. Look what we did! You should be proud.

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Not Found in the Other 49: The Ron and Penny Zobel Papers

A guest post from our summer intern: Anna Leinweber. Thanks Anna!

As the summer intern visiting Alaska for the first time, I expected to learn many things about the state and its history while here. My expectations were that I would learn a great deal about Alaskan life and culture; things involving the outdoors and nature that is unfamiliar to me. What I did not expect was to work with papers from such a unique Supreme Court case as the Zobels’.

As a person born and raised in Louisiana, I have a special appreciation for unique state things. Due to things such as Huey Long legends, and the fact that Louisiana attorneys learn Napoleonic Civil Code instead of English Common Law like the other 49 states, I always assumed I knew some fun facts about peculiar legality. Again, Alaska serves to show me more! After all, the Permanent Fund Dividend yearly allocation of money to all state residents is truly different from the other 49. I’ve left the realm of Parishes and landed in the world of Boroughs.

In this world of Boroughs, the Zobels, Penny and Ron, also found themselves arriving at an interesting time, especially considering they were both lawyers. The late 1970s, the Trans-Alaska pipeline system, and Governor Jay Hammond spawned the idea of the Permanent Fund Dividend, in which the state would distribute money on a yearly basis to each resident. Wonderful, right? Only there was a hitch. Governor Hammond’s original PFD plan was to pay residents different amounts based on the number of years they had lived in Alaska since statehood. Enter Zobels. Penny and Ron quickly noted the unconstitutionality of such actions and filed suit, claiming Governor Hammond’s plan stood in contrast to the 14th Amendment. The case made its way through the courts of Alaska, and finally to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the Zobels. Henceforth, all Alaskan residents can annually claim a PFD check for an equal sum.

Just like Huey Long’s assassination stands in equal lore as his “Share Our Wealth” platform, the Zobels’ reputation and image amongst their fellow Alaskans rivals their case in the highest court in the land. Our collection of Zobel papers is not limited to legal research and case documents. There is letter upon letter from Alaskans of all ages criticizing the Zobels and denouncing them as “Cheechakos,” or short-term residents only seeking the benefit of Alaskan boom times. Many newspaper clippings from the Anchorage Times and Anchorage Daily News show the couple in a similar light. Thankfully, there is hope left yet, and the collection also contains letters of support and encouragement. The case was even used as an educational piece for a National Geographic project highlighting the Judicial Branch of the U.S. government, which the archives also has within the collection.

While Alaskans might have been divided on the dividend in the early years of the court battle, both the Zobels and the state were able to move forward. Ron served the state as Assistant Attorney General for a number of years, and Penny remained in private practice. The residents of Alaska can apply for their PFD check and enjoy their state money each fall, which continues to help alleviate the higher standard of living here.

The Zobels, although largely unknown to newer Alaskans, exemplify the spirit of this distinctive state in their willingness to separate from the norm. Through my time here in Alaska, and especially through processing the Zobel papers, I’ve learned much about striking out to defy the status quo. The Zobel papers are a testament to the tiresome, but worthwhile work of daring to be different. As I prepare to leave Alaska, I have a renewed appreciation for taking up a cause for what one believes in and seeing it through in the face of great opposition. All in all, the Zobel collection has much to teach us, not just about legal battles and the PFD, but about what it means to champion something that no one has before.

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New in the Archives: July 2018

It is hard to believe it is August already, but time flies when you are busy. Last month we released not one, but two episodes of our podcast, Archiving AK. Arlene became famous thanks to her interview with C-SPAN about our materials relating to the 1964 Alaska earthquake. In addition to describing several new collections and adding images to Alaska’s Digital Archives, we began work on several of the multi-institution topic guides for which we received an Interlibrary Cooperation Grant.

Flowers planted in a dogsled

Flowers planted in a dogsled from Anne Nevaldine papers

Additions to Alaska’s Digital Archives:

Images can be found on the Digital Archives by searching the collection name.

38 images from Henry Gilbertson papers. Photographs of various locations in Alaska taken by an administrator of rural schools in Alaska who traveled to the schools he oversaw.

29 images from Jukichi (Jack) Nishida photographs. Photographs taken by a man who worked for a mining company in Ellamar.

Jukichi "Jack" Nishida

Jukichi “Jack” Nishida from Jukichi “Jack” Nishida photographs.

Collections converted to current standard:

HMC-0203: John Potter papers; 1942-1945. 0.01 cubic feet. Papers of an Air Force photographer, who served in Alaska in World War II.

HMC-0646: Allen D. Raney letters; 1944. 0.01 cubic feet. Letters written by a 364th Infantry Regiment lieutenant stationed at Adak Army Airfield in 1944.

HMC-0741: Eugene W. Stolz papers; 1942-1996. 0.2 cubic feet. Papers and photographs of a pilot who lived in Alaska.

HMC-1293 Joseph Rudd papers. 4.61 cubic feet. The personal and business papers of of a lawyer who lived in Alaska. Separated from the papers of his wife, Lisa Rudd (HMC-0212)

Collections described:

HMC-0165: Charles Lucier papers; 1903-2009. 0.5 cubic foot addition, transferred from UAF Archives. Ethnographic materials related to Karluk, Kotzebue, and Buckland.

HMC-0376: Winton C. Arnold papers; 1946-1981, bulk 1950-1969. 0.8 cubic foot addition. Papers of a lawyer involved in the Alaskan salmon industry, including photographs taken on a salmon industry trip to Russia, materials related to Alaska statehood, and Federal Trade Commission Proceedings.

HMC-1294: Anne Nevaldine papers; circa 1996-2009. 4 cubic feet and 315 GB. Primarily photographs of flowers and plants taken by a macro-photographer.

Close-up shot of a bee on a flower

Close-up shot of a bee on a flower from Anne Nevaldine papers

HMC-1295 Quota Club of Anchorage, Alaska records; 1952-2012.  Records of an Anchorage womens  club that engaged in service projects for the hearing impaired.

UAA-0132: UAA. Native Student Services records; 1982-2001. Records relating to the creation and operations of an educational support office for Native students.

Topic guides:

World War II in Alaska collections guide updated and additional collections added.

Other accomplishments:

C-SPAN aired the interview they did with Arlene about the 1964 earthquake.

Bonus podcast episode: interview with researcher Justin Rawlins.

Podcast episode 4: interview with Greg Schmitz and Kevin Tripp of the Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association (AMIPA).

Shelves in the AMIPA vault.

Shelves in the AMIPA vault.

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