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Digital project puts Aldo Leopold papers online

April 8, 2008

The project to digitize the University of Wisconsin–Madison Archives‘ complete collection of materials from conservationist Aldo Leopold has made its first installment of online materials available to the public.

Photo of Aldo Leopold doing reearch in the field

Aldo Leopold conducts field research in this 1946 photo.

Photo: courtesy UW Archives

The diaries and journals are available through both the main collection and a detailed guide to the collection.

The digitization is being done under a grant awarded to the Aldo Leopold Foundation, in Baraboo, Wis., the holders of the intellectual property rights of the materials, by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The UW-Madison Digital Collections Center is managing the digitization.

Leopold’s diaries and journals are the first materials to be digitized, due to their high use and fragility. The materials consist of a collection of early diaries, notebooks and journals with a folio of loose drawings and U.S. Forest Service diaries covering 1899-1933, Leopold’s hunting journals spanning 1917-1945, and Leopold’s Portage-area "Shack" journals covering 1935-1948.

Since the diaries and journals are hand-written, they are not searchable, but users can browse through them. The images were created using Jpeg 2000 and can be viewed in four sizes. By clicking on the "Image detail" link, users can zoom in on specific parts of pages for greater detail.

The rest of the digital Leopold collection will be coming up during 2008, in fairly large, complete segments. The next part to be made available will be Leopold’s correspondence, mostly covering his UW–Madison years from 1933-1948.

The two-year project exemplifies The Wisconsin Idea. For more information on the project, contact David Null, University Archives director, at (608) 265-1988.