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About the Collection

Content and Scope

Whether it's by bullet train in Tokyo or dogsled in arctic Canada, people of the world have always had a need to get from "point A" to "point B". The photographs in Transportation Around the World: 1911-1993 present a wide variety of transportation methods used in 79 countries across the globe. The 650 images contained in this digital collection were selected from three separate photographic collections: the Harrison Forman Collection, Harold Mayer Collection, and American Geographical Society Library Print Collection. All three collections are housed in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries' American Geographical Society (AGS) Library.

The Harrison Forman Collection

Milwaukee native Harrison Forman was a prominent photojournalist whose work documents the people and landscapes of Asia and the rest of the world. The images selected from the Harrison Forman Collection cover the period from the early 1950's to the mid-1970's. 305 color slides were selected for the digital collection, a small percentage considering that the Harrison Forman Collection contains approximately 98,000 images. The collection was given to the AGS Library by Mr. Forman's widow in May of 1987.

The Harold Mayer Collection

Harold Mayer was a UW-Milwaukee Geography professor and one of the leading geographers of the twentieth century. He specialized in the Urban and Transport Geography of North America, with a focus on Chicago, New York, and the British Columbia region. Of the approximate 50,000 slides in the Harold Mayer Collection, 223 black-and-white and color slides were chosen for Transportation Around the World. These images cover the years 1947 to 1993.

The American Geographical Society Library Print Collection

The American Geographical Society Library Print Collection contains black-and-white prints from the early part of the twentieth century. This collection gives a unique historic glance at transportation methods used throughout the world. A wide array of photographers contributed to this collection, and the variety of subjects featured in the photographs shows this diversity. In the 122 prints selected for the digital collection, one can see everything from camel caravans in Afghanistan to wagon trains in Oregon.


Transportation Around the World: 1911-1993 focuses on two subjects: transportation and geography. The selection process for this digital collection was performed by Jim Dicker and Patti Day. Jim Dicker is an Associate Professor in UW-Milwaukee's School of Architecture and Urban Planning, and Patti Day is a Digital Spatial Data Librarian for the UW-Milwaukee Libraries' AGS Library.

Once the images were selected, they were converted to digital format using two methods. The black-and-white and color slides were scanned at 4000 dpi resolution using a Nikon 4000 ED film scanner. The prints were scanned at 600 dpi resolution using a Microtek ScanMaker E6 flatbed scanner. The resulting TIFF files (archival images) for both the slides and prints are stored at UWM Libraries. Access images (JPEG files) of 640 pixels in height or width were then created from the TIFF files for Web delivery. The collection was built with CONTENTdm digital media management software using Dublin Core metadata.

To make searching easier for the end-user, the resulting images were indexed. Three different thesauri were used in the indexing process. The Transportation Research Thesaurus provided the terms used in the field of "Transportation Type"(e.g. Land Transportation, Public Transit, Water Transportation). Library of Congress' Thesaurus for Graphic Materials I: Subject Terms, provided the terms used in the fields of "Transportation Mode" (e.g. Buses, Rickshaws, Boats) and "Transportation Facilities" (e.g. Airports, Streets, Railroad Terminals).

In determining geographic location - Continent, Country/Region, State/Province, City/Place, and Geographic Feature - Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names was used. Often times the current name of a country is different from the name when the photograph was taken. This was taken into consideration by putting the former name in parenthesis following the current name, for example: Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo).

The website was originally designed in March 2003. It was redesigned by Nellie Bednarek in November 2006.


Patti Day, Digital Spatial Data Librarian, American Geographical Society Library, UWM Libraries
Jim Dicker, Associate Professor, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Project Staff
Krystyna K. Matusiak, Digital Project Librarian
Cullen Carter, Digitization Intern
Nellie Bednarek, staff, Digitization Unit, UWM Libraries
Metadata Consultant
Steve Miller, Head, Monographs Department, UWM Libraries
Student Assistants
Jill Annitto, Sean McMahon, and Derek Robinson
Digitizing Oversight Committee
Ewa Barczyk, Chair, Associate Director for Libraries, UWM Libraries
Denise Babin, Head, Automation Department, UWM Libraries
Chris Baruth, Curator, American Geographical Society Library, UWM Libraries
Tim Ericson, Assistant Director of Libraries, Archives and Special Collections, UWM Libraries
Krystyna K. Matusiak, Digital Project Librarian, UWM Libraries
Steve Miller, Head, Monographs Department, UWM Libraries


Copyright © 2003 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. All rights reserved.

Transportation Around the World: 1911-1993 is published by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries.

The images may be copied by individuals or libraries for personal use, research, teaching or any "fair use" as defined by copyright law. Please include this statement with any copies you make. Non-comercial, non-subscription Internet editions created for an educational purpose may freely link to the site or individual pages.

Anyone interested in any other use of these images, including for-profit Internet editions, should obtain permission from the American Geographical Society Library at UWM Libraries.

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