February 2022

In just the past two years, the IGWS has received more than 200 requests for publications which were not freely accessible to everyone who wanted to view them. Those pubs—spanning from 1838 to the present day—might have existed only in paper form, been produced in a program or format that is no longer used, or been buried in a subfolder in the internal IGWS file system.

To fulfill requests, staff have had to track down the bulletin, circular, report, map, poster, database, or CD among the more than 1,950 items the IGWS has published in its history and scan it if it wasn’t already digital. At the time they were requested, more than half of the items were not already available on the IGWS’s online bookstore—either not listed at all or listed as “out of print.”

The IGWS began an organized effort in the summer of 2016 to scan all non-digital IGWS publications and convert older digital files to PDFs so that they can be more discoverable both internally and externally through the bookstore. That project was led by former staff members Barb Hill and John Day, as well as Karen Like.

While Like continues to digitize petroleum well records, a team of five other staff from the information services division is working through decades’ worth of other items that were not “born digital” as well as newer items that aren’t yet publicly accessible. Will Knauth, Jenna Lanman, Polly Sturgeon, Sara Clifford, and Matt Johnson are collaborating to track the digitization stage of all IGWS pubs; scan documents and make them searchable; ingest items to IUScholarWorks that weren’t there already; obtain DOIs (a permanent web link for each document); write suggested citations; and move digital documents into ResourceSpace, a publicly accessible portal under construction which will link to the IGWS’s website.

In December, a collection of IGWS circulars produced between 1952 and 2021 was added to IUScholarWorks, where each can be viewed and downloaded for free. The team is currently working to add 70-plus IGWS special reports to IUScholarWorks and ResourceSpace and will continue moving through other groups of documents after this group is completed.

The open-access project ties into the IGWS’s strategic plan, which includes goals to increase accessibility to geoscience information, samples, and data. Eventually, all science-related publications and historical publications will be offered as free downloads through IUScholarWorks, said Johnson, assistant director for information services.

The IGWS bookstore will continue to operate, selling a few publications like trail maps and the annual calendar, and otherwise directing users to where they can find and download open-access publications. Paper copies of historical publications will still be available for viewing in the IGWS’s resource library.

A tandem project to ResourceSpace, called CollectiveAccess, also is being developed. CollectiveAccess will create a digital method to keep track of physical assets, like fossils and core samples, and link them with an online catalog—the way a library catalog works—so that users can search and see what exists in various IGWS collections without having to come to campus first. Objects in CollectiveAccess also would be linked to photos and documents in ResourceSpace to give a more complete picture of the data staff have gleaned from each object. Together, the project is called CARST (CollectiveAccess ResourceSpace Tandem); more information about the tandem portion will be published in the Indiana Journal of Earth Sciences later this spring.

“As the open-access project continues into 2022, this will provide easy, free access to a variety of valuable publications from the IGWS,” said Knauth, the project leader. “Publicly-funded material once locked into our internal systems will be available to our audiences, and this will raise the visibility of the fascinating and critical work being undertaken by the survey and its value to the State of Indiana.”