The two-year, $148,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) will allow people to search SHI's archival and ethnographic holdings on the Internet by using keywords or browse searching for authors and subjects.
The project is a huge step forward in making the institute's materials more accessible to the public, said SHI Archivist Zachary Jones, noting for the first time a full listing of SHI's collections will be available via the Internet.
"This is going to transform the way we operate, up our effectiveness and hopefully bring more people in and serve people better," Jones said. "It allows us to let people know in a more effective way what we have and to bring them in here. The most important part about having these great collections is getting people to use them."
SHI's collections include more than 5,000 publications, approximately 20,000 photographic images, roughly 1,000 cultural objects, nearly 2,500 media items and more than 750 linear feet of manuscript material that document the history, culture, heritage, and language of the Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian people of Southeast Alaska.
The institute eventually will post links to the databases on its website at www.sealaskaheritage.org.