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Digitizing, Cataloging, and Publishing Arizona’s Mining Legacy Online: Mine Maps, Reports, and Photographs

Article Author(s): 

Casey Brown

Pie diagram showing the number of file, map and photograph constituents of the ADMMR collection.

Figure 1. Pie diagram showing the number of file, map and photograph constituents of the ADMMR collection.

On 6 April 2011, Governor Brewer signed SB1615, State Agencies Consolidation, consolidating the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources (ADMMR) with the AZGS, effective July 1, 2011.  As part of the consolidation, the Arizona Geological Survey received ADMMR’s maps, photos and manuscript collections. That year, AZGS began a comprehensive inventory of the 30 archival collections, creating finding aids1 for the more than 10,000 folders, 6,000 maps, and 7,000 photographs (Figure 1). Once complete, the team prioritized digitization and description of the three most commonly accessed collections: the ADMMR mining collection, a series of engineers’ reports and miscellaneous related data; the ADMMR map collection, oversized maps of Arizona’s mines and geology; and the ADMMR photo collection, photographs of mines and prospects taken by ADMMR engineers or donated to the Department.

In Fiscal Year 2013 (07/01/2012 to 06/30/2013), we cataloged and digitized 8,000 mining records previously held by the ADMMR. These consist of 4,068 mine files, 678 mine maps, and 3,328 photographs. This year we scanned approximately 44,000 pages of paper reports and miscellaneous data from mine files. Together with scanning projects in past years, that completed the ADMMR mining collection folders. All three resource types are now available online using the United States Geoscience Information Network (USGIN) search portal (Figures 2 and 3). While the full contents of these materials are available to the public when visiting the AZGS Phoenix Office of Economic Geology’s holdings, a number of items had to be redacted from online distribution due to copyright law. Most of the items removed should be readily available from their publishers, e.g., The Arizona Republic, Pay Dirt.

Figure 2. Search portal at U.S. Geoscience Information Network (USGIN), search.usgin.org. Search can be global or restricted by selecting a spatial “area of interest”.

Figure 2. Search portal at U.S. Geoscience Information Network (USGIN), http://search.usgin.org. Search can be global or restricted by selecting a spatial “area of interest.”

Figure 3. Results of a search at USGIN for “admmr photo archive file: Gladstone McCabe 60 52.” The photograph is of ore cars and timbering at the 850' level in the Gladstone McCabe Mine.

Figure 3. Results of a search at USGIN for “admmr photo archive file: Gladstone McCabe 60 52.” The photograph is of ore cars and timbering at the 850' level in the Gladstone McCabe Mine.

Much of this year’s work consisted of scanning, redacting, and correcting records. The ADMMR mining collection was more than 60 years in the making, so we found files worth merging, others worth splitting, and many opportunities to fix names and locations. It is the primary collection that our stakeholders associate with ADMMR because it includes all the engineers’ field reports. Items in this collection have each mine located, something that was not always obvious and is sometimes still an educated guess. Thanks to the files being well located, the time was used to remove commercially published content in order to make a fair use case for remaining unpublished materials.

The USGIN search portal contains many more resources than just the mining and economic geology files from our special collections. In order to filter for a specific mine of interest, customers are advised to include “admmr” and the mine’s name in the search bar. At this time, alternate names are not searched. In the future, we anticipate that alternate names and other keywords will be searchable. The map displayed at the top of the screen allows users to define a search area. Try drawing a search area on the map and including your search term in the search box; “admmr” will return all that collection’s files within the area drawn on the map. Finally, searching by cadastral system coordinates, i.e., township and range, can also be useful. For example, “T10N R1W” will return results in township 10 north, range 1 west. Please keep in mind that these results currently only account for the three digitized collections and the map collection is still in progress. The AZGS may have more archival contents related to a mine from other collections. Finding aids for those collections are available from AZGS’s online Document Repository, repository.azgs.az.gov.

The primary goals for the coming year will be to complete item-level metadata of the map collection, which includes approximately 4,500 remaining maps, and the remaining images from various collections of photographic prints, slides, and digital images. As most maps are already digitized, they will be made available online at search.usgin.org once they are cataloged with USGIN metadata.

1 In the field of library science, a finding aid is a document with information about an item or a specific group of items within a library or archive, and is intended to assist researchers in determining whether materials within that group are relevant to their research.

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