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USGS Southwest Repeat Photography Collection: Kanab Creek, southern UT and northern AZ, 1872-2010

November 8, 2017

The USGS Southwest Repeat Photography Collection (Collection), formerly named the Desert Laboratory Repeat Photography Collection, is now housed by the Southwest Biological Science Center (SBSC) in Flagstaff, Arizona. It contains images from the late 1800s to mid-2000s, and was assembled over decades by now retired USGS scientists Drs. Robert H. Webb and Raymond M. Turner. There are 80 camera points, or stakes, along Kanab Creek in the Collection, with images and fields notes taken between 1872 and 2010 (a 138-year span). About one-fourth of the Kanab Creek film had been previously digitized, but none of the associated materials, including field notes, were digitized. The goal of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Kanab Creek data preservation project was to preserve all film and materials for the Kanab Creek stretch, which represents a small subset of the entire USGS Southwest Repeat Photography Collection. For the purposes of this project, we will be using assessments made during the digital preservation of this subset in order to estimate the time and protocols necessary to digitize and release the entire Collection, thus using this project as an example to model the preservation efforts for the rest of the Collection. As the Collection was compiled, every camera point or stake location (stake) was assigned a stake number denoted by the letter s in front of a number (e.g., s1234). It is important to note that since images were taken by various repeat photography expeditions at different times and for different research purposes, stake numbers do not follow a logical numerical or geographical order. Each stake has a physical folder where all materials collected over time have been consolidated, with the exception of film. The folders contain print photographs, field notes, Record of Repeat Photography note sheets and other paper materials. The photographic film (negative and positive) is stored within archival envelopes within fire safes at SBSC for security. The goal of this preservation project was to digitize the best quality film and other materials for each date at all stakes along Kanab Creek in order to preserve the long term visual record. The digitization process was slightly different depending on the type of material; all processes were documented and a detailed protocol has been provided as an attachment on the ScienceBase page. Geospatial data are also included in this release to provide users with a map representation of where the stake locations are situated along Kanab Creek. This data release contains 80 child items, each representing a different stake location along Kanab Creek. Each child item provides digital copies of images and field notes from all photographed years at each stake, and has an associated metadata record that describes the contents of the page. This main landing page includes all child items, geospatial references for all stake locations (SHP file), a spreadsheet with supplemental information for each stake (CSV file), a project level metadata record, a metadata record that describes both the SHP file and the CSV, and a document describing the scanning protocols used for this project.

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