Document Type

Contribution to Book



Format of Original

12 p.

Publication Date



Scarecrow Press

Source Publication

Preserving Local Writers, Genealogy, Photographs, Newspapers, and Related Materials

Source ISSN



Historical photo archives or collections can put an organization on the map and make it into a destination for patrons. Conversely, if not well organized and indexed, collections and archives can languish in obscurity and occupy valuable space and resources with no tangible return for the organization. The Milwaukee Public Library’s (MPL) Historic Photo Archives (HPA) contain around thirty thousand historic images; of those images, most are located in the Historic Photo Collection, one of the archives’ 45 individual collections. The HPA has evolved over the decades. Various reference librarians have been assigned the archives, and the rotation of responsible parties has left its mark. The challenge created by having many individuals with different backgrounds, priorities, areas of interest, and time to devote to the maintenance of the collection has been mitigated by a strong collection development policy.


Published version. "Organizing and Indexing Photo Collections," in Preserving Local Writers, Genealogy, Photographs, Newspapers, and Related Materials. Eds. Carol Smallwood and Elaine Williams. Plymouth, UK: Scarecrow Press, Inc, 2012: 189-198. Permalink. © 2012 Scarecrow Press, Inc. Used with permission.