Associate University Librarian
University of Northern Iowa
Fortepan Iowa is a historic digital photo archive launched in 2015 and based at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) featuring curated photos taken by ordinary Iowans in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The public is continually invited to add to the archive by submitting photos or volunteering to scan images at public scanning stations. The first public scanning station was set up in partnership with UNI’s Rod Library, providing a place for students and other volunteers to scan and process donated photographs. All Fortepan Iowa photos carry a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) license and are therefore available for public download. To encourage broader public engagement with and use of the archive, local artists are “wheat pasting” enormous versions of Fortepan Iowa photos to the sides of prominent buildings in five Iowa towns. Establishing processes for the public to engage in both the building and the using of this photo archive makes Fortepan Iowa uniquely popular and successful.