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BEV BUTULA: Digital Archive a great source of information

Did you know that the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction maintains a wonderful resource called the Wisconsin Digital Archives?

The archives are part of the Wisconsin Document Depository Program. The depository program “requires Wisconsin state agencies to provide copies of their documents for distribution to designated depository libraries located throughout the state. The goal of the program is to preserve and make available a record of major state government programs and assure the availability of state documents published by state agencies for use by Wisconsin citizens now and in the future regardless of format.”

The digital archive is the vehicle to house full text electronic documents. It appears that currently there are well over 3,000 documents in the database.

Due to the diversity of participating state agencies and municipalities, there are an array of documents. There are annual reports, study results, newsletters, action plans, statistics, and much more. The user can browse the collection or run a query within the search box. I preferred using the “advanced search” option. Starting here allows the user construct a detailed search and narrow results by date and/or specific fields.

Some documents within the archive that caught my eye include numerous town zoning and comprehensive plans, a survey of organic farmers, an airport layout plan, alternatives to expulsion case studies, and a profile of Wisconsin campers.

A nice feature is the ability to quickly obtain the document’s URL for reference or citation purposes.

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