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March 2002, Volume 34, Number 3

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Western Trails initiative promises
new accessibility to a variety of media

Thanks to a grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), 16 Wyoming institutions will be able to make historic materials in their care available to anyone with access to a computer connected to the Internet.
Western Trails Project
Venice Beske, (right) coordinator for the Western Trails Project looks on while Patrick Tally of the Nolin Library, University of Colorado at Boulder, scans a map to be digitized.

The two-year project, titled "Western Trails," will aid in the creation of digital copies of source materials related to the historic western migration of the U.S. population, whether on foot, by horse-drawn conveyance, by rail or by highway.

Wyoming partners in the project include the Coe Library and American Heritage Center, at the University of Wyoming; Casper College Library and Fort Caspar Museum, Casper; the Platte County Library, the Chugwater Museum, the Glendo Museum, the Guernsey Visitor Center, and the Laramie Peak Museum; the Wyoming State Historical Society; and the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office, the Wyoming Arts Council, the Wyoming State Archaeologist, the Wyoming State Archives and the Wyoming State Museum.

The State Library will coordinate Wyoming’s project. State libraries in Nebraska and Kansas and the Colorado Digitization Project are also taking part in the Western Trails initiative.

There are two primary goals for the project.

First, it will provide the opportunity to test if digitization can work as a tool to provide increased access to, awareness of and collaboration between Wyoming archives, historical societies, libraries and museums. Second, if digitization proves to be an effective tool, participants will work to develop the infrastructure and procedures necessary for implementation by cultural heritage institutions statewide.

The project has a completion date of December 2003.
Western Trails Project
Erin Kinney (center) of the Wyoming State Library, Tally, (left) and Bill Van Arsdale, University of Wyoming Libraries, (right) discuss the collaborative process.

Participants have already taken part in several planning and training sessions. During the next six months, the partners will determine what items from their collection will be digitized and develop the procedures for digitization and creating metadata.

Ultimately, the participants will create at least 2,500 digitized images, the associated metadata and Website exhibits on Wyoming’s trails.

A Website has been developed by Erin Kinney, WSL reference librarian, to facilitate communication between participating institutions. It is at

For additional information, contact Venice Beske, WSL Statewide Information Services manager, at 307-777-7982 or

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