Montana State Library

P.O. Box 201800
1201 11th Avenue
Helena MT 59620-1800
Hours: 8 am - 5 pm, Monday - Friday




Montana State Library Digitization Project

Project Description

Internet Archive scan center

In late 2007, the Montana State Library (MSL) in partnership with the Internet Archive began digitizing and placing online digital surrogates of its entire historic print state publication collection dating from the 1860’s.  This project supports in part the MSL mission and statutes to preserve and provide permanent public access to state publications.  To date, over 28,000 print state publications have been digitized.

Frequently Asked Questions

In addition to its mission and statutory mandates, MSL digitizes to increase access and enhance preservation. Online copies because they are freely, available 24/7 get vastly more use than their print counterparts. Online copies are also keyword searchable and easier to browse than the print copies whose bindings often lack sufficient surface area for title, author information. Digital access also reduces wear and tear on the print versions and helps protect against loss and damage from fire, water, theft, etc.
MSL staff conducts a multi-step process to prepare print state publications for shipping to Internet Archive scan center. The Internet Archive scans and returns the print state publications in their original condition to the MSL.The Internet Archive hosts the digital versions indefinitely from their website. MSL staff unpack the returned print state publications, place them on storage shelves, and remove them from circulation. Per a Memo of Understanding (2008), MSL offers the MHS all scanned print state publications in support of creating a complete, secure, print collection at the MHS and a complete digital collection at the MSL.MSL will retain in storage all scanned print state publications not wanted by MHS.Should a print copy be needed for a rescan, MSL will have a print copy.
They are available from the Internet Archive, the MSL library catalog, and WorldCat shortly after being digitized.Additionally, bibliographic records with links to digital state publications are added as soon as possible depending on staff resources to the Montana Memory Project, the Mountain West Digital Library, and Digital Public Library of America.
Print state publications not yet scanned are available for in-house use and scan on demand.Additionally, state publications already scanned are available for in-house use at the Montana Historical Society.
The Internet Archive hosts the files for our digital state publications on their web servers at San Francisco, California and has established mirror locations at Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Alexandria, Egypt.MSL creates Persistent Uniform Resource Locators (PURL) for each digital state publication that would be used to redirect the user requests should the address of the resource change.A local repository of master files has not yet been developed.
MSL will continue to work with state agencies to identify and acquire print publications that were never submitted so that they may be digitized.
With rare exception, the MSL does not digitized recently published print state publications because all state publications are now born digital. Most are posted to the publishing state agency website for an indeterminate period of time where they are captured by our MSL web archive, i.e. MT.GOV Connect.A small unknown fraction of born digital state publications have a print edition.