Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey Digital Collection

Whether you’re interested in Wisconsin geology and geography, or just love the beauty of our local landscapes, the treasures in the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey’s digital collections are well worth a look.

The UW Digital Collections Center has been working for several years with students from the School of Library and Information Studies and Carol McCartney at the WGNHS to digitize parts of the vast collection. Over 4,000 black and white photos taken by field geologists between 1910 and 1935 are currently accessible online. These include not only pictures of rock formations and landscapes, but of local workers, as well as the field geologists and their families. WGNHS Bulletins and stunning hydrographic maps are also great for browsing and research alike.

Currently, the project is hard at work digitizing the notebooks of geologist, author, and native son Charles Van Hise.



Troy Reeves is Listening

The Wisconsin Idea is a big one, and while it means many things to many people, a core principle is sharing our campus expertise with the larger Wisconsin community. Since taking over as Oral History Program lead in June 2007, Troy Reeves has done just that.

The Oral History Project at UW-Madison got its start in 1971 interviewing emeritus professors about their research. In the past 40 years the goals of the program have expanded considerably: faculty, staff, students, and everyone else on campus have a story to tell. Those stories now amount to over 4,000 hours of recorded interviews, and growing!

Collections within the program include:

The U.S. Forest Products Lab Centennial Collection – documents the experiences of current and former employees to balance healthy forests with forest-based economies

The Arboretum Collection – encompassing interviews related to the Arboretum, including Civilian Conservation Corps members who worked there in the 1930s

Women in Science and Engineering – records the efforts of women working in science, engineering, mathematics, and medical fields beginning in the 1920s

Badger Village – recalls the experiences of those who lived in the Badger Village, where married veterans and their families were housed from 1946 to 1951

UW-Madison Teaching Assistants Association Strike of 1970 – preserves the experiences of participants and onlookers in the contentious political clash on campus

The Supplementary Tape Collection – collects and preserves recordings of all types related to the UW-Madison and individuals within it

In 2010, The Oral History Program marked the 40th anniversary of the Sterling Hall bombing with a booth in Memorial Library where Wisconsinites could share their memories of the traumatic day and its aftermath. Excerpts of these interviews are available to anyone online: http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/UW/UW-idx?type=browse&scope=UW.SterlingBomb

Troy is a multi-tasker: along with the UW Archives Oral History Program, he leads the campus and community LGBT Oral History Project. He also uses his experience and expertise to train folks at oral history workshops held throughout the state as part of history and library conferences, and leads annual Wisconsin Oral History Day colloquiums—held in Madison, Eau Claire, and Milwaukee.

If you’re looking for a living, breathing example of the Wisconsin Idea in action, Troy’s your man!




UW Digital Collections Center

Want something beautiful? Rare? Fascinating? Chances are the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center has something to delight your aesthetic and intellectual senses.

Founded in 2000, the UWDCC is driven by the principle that the boundaries of the University are the boundaries of the State. Since then, they have created and offered access to digital resources to support the teaching, research, and curiosity of Wisconsinites far and wide.

The UWDCC provides access to rare and fragile materials of broad research value, as well as lesson plans for educators. They also work with individuals throughout the UW System and Wisconsin Public Libraries to preserve unique pieces that document the history of the University of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin as a whole.  And it’s not just text. The Digital Collections Center offers thousands of striking images and even sound recordings.

Most importantly, these resources are free and publicly accessible online! The UWDCC strongly encourages Wisconsinites to poke around, explore, share, teach, and of course, enjoy.


Pat Tuchscherer, coordinator of reformatting for the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections Center (UWDCC), works in a darkened room in Memorial Library, scanning books from the Kohler Art Library to be made available online. The digital resources include books, journal series and manuscript collections; photographic images; maps; fine art prints; posters; audio; and video. (Photo courtesy of UW Communications)