The Madison Metropolitan School District is the second largest district in Wisconsin, and serves an estimated student population of 27,000 through 48 schools within an area of approximately 65 miles.1 The collection of online materials is made up of annual reports dating back to the mid-nineteenth century, and published through the current year. These reports serve as valuable primary sources for research into the history and sociological paradigms behind some of the decisions and changes the District has experienced throughout the century. In addition, these reports reflect other aspects of the city of Madison and surrounding communities as they have worked towards development of the best public school experience possible for the students and families they serve. For future educators or researchers investigating the history of public education, administrators wishing to review the decision making processes and views behind previous and historical developments, as well as other community members interested in the public school history of Madison and communities within the District, these can be vital sources of information.
Unfortunately, these materials are not currently housed in an area that promotes the archival survival of the documents, and many are starting to show the damage of time. In order to preserve the information, and to allow access to the widest possible range of researchers, it seemed a logical and functional step to digitize this material and house its electronic access through the University of Wisconsin Madison general library system. The physical materials will remain at the Doyle Administration Center, but by having the information digitized and available through the general library system web page, the materials are assured of having a more robust and stable means of survival and retrieval of data, as well as a greatly expanded means of information delivery to the greater research community. The agreement between the MMSD Madison School and Community Education Library (MSCEL) and the University of Wisconsin Madison Memorial Library would entail digitizing all previous, current, and future annual reports. A hard copy of the current report would also be sent to the digital library department, and would not need to be returned. In this manner, MSCEL hopes to serve as wide a community of researchers as possible, and in so doing also provide access to these documents to University students and faculty in particular.
1 Madison Metropolitan School District website, http://www.madison.k12.wi.us/mmsdfact.htm. Accessed 2/10/16.
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