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Digitizing the Collection

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This project was made possible through  funding from the Nevada State Library and Archives under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), P.L. 108-91, as amended, through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

The Institute of Museum and Library Services, an independent federal agency that grows and sustains a “Nation of Learners,” because lifelong learning is critical to success.


The selection of the material was performed by Peter Michel, Director of Special Collections and Aaron McArthur, Project Archivist.

Depending on size and condition, materials were scanned using either an Epson Expression 10000X scanner (using EPSON Scan Ver. 2.94A scanning software), an Epson GT1550, a Epson GT20000, or a Zeutschel scanner and Omniscan software. The high-resolution (300-600 dpi) uncompressed TIFF image files were then converted into the JPEG2000 format,. In the case of documents, Abbyy Finereader optical character recognition software was used to create text files and the transcripts and images were compiled into PDF/A files for full text search and online display. Master images (high-resolution TIFF files) are archived in the Web and Digitization Unit of the Libraries.

To increase successful resource discovery, research was done to create metadata providing a variety of access points. Users can search the collection by keyword or through relevant data elements such as: “Identified Individuals,” “City and Country”, “Publication date,” “Material Type,” “Subjects”, “Contributors” (including railroads, public utilities, local agencies, and prominent Las Vegas families) or “Local Geographic Features” (such as mountain ranges, water sources or ranches). Dublin Core metadata was created for each item and terms were chosen by using controlled vocabulary from the Library of Congress' Thesaurus for Graphic Materials I, the and LC Name Authority File, and Faceted Application of Subject Terminology (FAST).  Custom collection-specific vocabularies were developed in-house specifically for this collection.

Peter Michel and Aaron McArthur provided narrative structure for the website and contributed text and scholarly content for each of the subject pages. The For Educators pages and all content, including inquiry questions and learning modules, were developed by Christy Keeler, PhD.

Technical Notes

The images and metadata for this collection are powered by the CONTENTdm Digital Collection Management Software. Two open source software products developed at UNLV are in use with this collection. Images are viewed using dmMonocle, a viewer developed for high resolution digital collection images. The interface of the collection uses the dmBridge templating system developed to create robust and feature rich contextual websites for CONTENTdm collections.  The site also uses the Drupal open source content management system. Many items in this collection are also a part of the UNLV Institutional Repository powered by Digital Commons.

Project Team

  • Marianne Buehler, Urban Sustainability Librarian
  • Selena Chau, Digital Collections Intern (grant-funded)
  • Alex Dolski, Web & Digitization Application Developer
  • John Fox, Information Systems Specialist
  • Amy Hunsaker, Digital Collections Intern (grant-funded)
  • Christy Keeler, PhD, Education Consultant (grant-funded)
  • Cory Lampert, Head of Digital Collections
  • Aaron McArthur, Project Archivist (grant-funded)
  • Peter Michel, Director of Special Collections
  • Heela Naqshband, Metadata Specialist (grant-funded)
  • Kelly Robertson, Metadata Specialist
  • Annie Sattler, Digitization Technician/Metadata
  • Jane Skoric, Metadata Specialist
  • Silvia Southwick, Digital Collections Metadata Librarian
  • Jason Vaughan, Director of Library Technologies
  • Michael Yunkin, Web Content Manager/Usability Specialist



Not to be reproduced without permission. To purchase copies of images and/or for copyright information, contact University of Nevada, Las Vegas Libraries, Special Collections. The Historic Landscape of Nevada: Development, Water and the Natural Environment is published by University of Nevada Las Vegas, University Libraries, June 2011.


For more information or to access original materials and reproductions please contact UNLV Libraries Special Collections at (702) 895-2234. For comments about the website or digitization process please contact Cory Lampert (702) 895-2209. We welcome comments and suggestions regarding this digital collection.
Phone: (702) 895-2209
Mailing Address:
University of Nevada, Las Vegas Libraries
Mail Stop 7010
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154-7010

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