AUGUSTA - The Maine State Archives recently received a grant from the National Archives' National Historical Publications and Records Commission, which will fund the digitization of previously unpublished journals of the Maine Legislature.

NHPRC awarded this grant of $96,195 to the Maine State Archives on Sept. 3. Archives staff will be working closely with the Law and Legislative Reference Library staff to complete this digitization project. The work will result in the creation of a permanently accessible collection of the currently unpublished early journals of the Maine House and Senate.

Increased access to these journals will promote research into Maines early legislative activity during a time of great ferment in the history of this state and nation.

"This grant helps us continue our work of digitizing the historical documents of the State to allow broader and easier access for the public, for generations to come," said Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap. These early legislative journals show the details of how we first began to govern ourselves and establish our identity as the State of Maine. We are very pleased to receive this support from the commission and look forward to collaborating with the Law Library to complete this important project.

This grant requires a match of $150,532 (total project cost is $246,727) and the staff time will count toward that match. Librarians in the Law and Legislative Reference Library will be dedicating a portion of their time to the transcription of the journals, partnering with the Archives staff, who will be imaging and managing the collection.

In addition to the preparatory work of image processing and transcription, funding from this grant will be used to establish sufficient server storage space to hold approximately 41,300 pages of high-resolution images, to create public access to those images through the Internet, and to electronically preserve those images through backup storage.

This project is supported by the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Senate and Clerk of the House, and work is slated to begin later this fall.