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Poster presented at American Library Association Annual Conference, 2012 (Anaheim, CA)
In October 2012, the University of Michigan Medical School's Center for the History of Medicine (CHM) launched an open access digital collection of archival and interpretive materials related to the history of the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic in the United States. The American Influenza Epidemic of 1918: A Digital Encyclopedia (AIE) (http://www.influenzaarchive.org) documents the experiences of fifty diverse communities when influenza ravaged the country and took an estimated 675,000 lives. The project, awarded a prestigious "We the People" designation by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), collocates 50,000 pages of archival materials gathered by the CHM staff at 140 national institutions during a multi-year federally funded historical study. This poster outlines the major challenges faced, including curating and digitizing a collection of primary sources already rendered as surrogates (photocopies, microfilm), securing permissions at the national level, keywording the diverse but narrowly focused materials, collaborating with an interdepartmental team, and designing a method of user testing.