University of Pittsburgh
September 30, 2002

University of Pittsburgh Receives IMLS Grant to Digitize Historic Pittsburgh Photographs for Access Worldwide


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

October 1, 2002

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh's University Library System (ULS) will digitize more than 7,000 photographs depicting Pittsburgh's immigrant workforce, steel industries, public schools, civic "renaissance" of the mid-1940s and 1950s, and African American communities, thanks to a 2002 National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The images will be available worldwide on the ULS "Historic Pittsburgh" Web site (

The two-year, $242,157 grant requires collaboration between libraries and museums to create innovative access to a body of photographic material. The University of Pittsburgh's Archives Service Center, the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center, and the Carnegie Museum of Art will work together to make their nationally significant visual collections of the Pittsburgh region accessible via the single Web gateway created and managed by the University's Digital Research Library.

The project will include some of the city's most important visual images, including the Charles "Teenie" Harris collection at the Carnegie, the Pittsburgh City Photographer collection at the University, and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development collection at the History Center.

According to Ed Galloway, project director and head of the University's Digital Research Library, "This project will give researchers one access point on the Internet to search and retrieve thousands of photographs held in different collections from multiple repositories in Pittsburgh." This grant is also designed to provide the partner institutions with the tools and education necessary to better manage, control, and administer their visual image collections.

Working with the History Center for the last three years, Pitt's ULS created the "Historic Pittsburgh" project. This collaboration has resulted in increased public access to significant collections of historic material documenting the growth and development of Pittsburgh and the surrounding western Pennsylvania region during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The IMLS grant will extend this project through the formation of a broader partnership and the addition of photographic images.

According to Hillman University Librarian Rush G. Miller, "This grant from IMLS is an indication of the maturity of our five-year-old Digital Research Library, which now ranks among the leaders in the creation of solid content for users of the World Wide Web. We are particularly pleased with the collaborative nature of our effort and the validation of our approach by this federal funding agency. At the University Library System, we are committed to continue to expand the frontiers of the use of information technologies to deliver important resources to our various constituents, many of which are using remote resources and have no other connection to the University of Pittsburgh."

IMLS is a federal grantmaking agency located in Washington, D.C., that fosters leadership, innovation and a lifetime of learning by supporting museums and libraries. Its library-museum collaboration grants support innovative projects that model how museums and libraries can work together to expand services to the public, with emphasis on serving the community, using technology, or enhancing education.