As Maine's online museum, the Maine Memory Network seeks to include digital reproductions of photographs, paintings, printed materials, manuscripts, and museum artifacts from across the state in a central repository made accessible on the World Wide Web.
Our goal is to be a resource for individuals, schools, and communities to aid in understanding local history and Maine history, and, through those pursuits, the nation's history. The MMN's audience includes teachers, students in grades K through 12, Internet users who want accurate historical information about Maine, and researchers seeking a starting point for their projects.
The MMN seeks to include documents and images from all geographical areas of the state, from all time periods, and from many thematic concerns (politics and government, industry and business, home life, different religious, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups; social and political action, and so forth).
When selecting historical items for the MMN, consider:
How will an item help users better understand state or local history? This does not mean the item must reflect only "important" people or events, but rather, the item should include enough detail or information to help the viewer understand its historical significance and its place in Maine history. Of each item, ask, "What can it offer about the way people in Maine lived, worked, governed, and behaved at various times?"
For instance, the description that accompanies an image of a building should include information about its architectural significance, its use and place in the community, or its relationship to some particular person or event. This context is as important as the item itself.
Any topic of Maine history could have historical significance. We offer the following guidelines to help you choose what topics to digitize:
Local interpretations of state or national events
One of the strengths of the Maine Memory Network is to bring together Maine's local resources. Each county, for example, would have a different understanding of the Statehood movement. We encourage you to work with local teachers in your area to determine their needs for historical documents. Teachers in your community are probably searching the MMN for historical items that will help them teach national and state events from the local perspective. The MMN Outreach team will be happy to help you identify teachers and the themes or documents they would like to have available on MMN.
Select items that will fill out areas of Maine Memory Network's database Forty percent of the historical items on the Maine Memory Network are from collecting institutions other than the Maine Historical Society, and often concentrate on areas that MHS does not have in our collections.
Contribute to the statewide, online exhibits that MMN coordinates on a regular basis. These exhibits include items from many organizations around the state. See the exhibit section for the most current list.
Choose items that showcase the strengths of your holdings One method of highlighting your holdings is to digitize physical exhibits you may have held in your institution. In many cases, these exhibits already have text and an overall narrative thread, making them ideal to easily translate into online exhibits.
Ideally, each item in the online exhibit should be scanned or photographed individually for inclusion on MMN. Each item should be individually cataloged, in the same way as any other items. The items in the exhibit would, therefore, be available on MMN as individual items as well as being part of the online re-creation of the gallery exhibit. Instructions on creating and online exhibit can be found in the Contributors' Manual.
Groups of related items are preferable to individual submissions. Digitizing important or especially interesting collections that your organization holds can be the first step to creating an online exhibit. Exhibits that feature particular collections can include an overview and introduction, but can utilize the text already created for the description field of the catalog record.
Choose images, documents, or photographs of historical items that are of high enough quality to be useful to our audience. The viewer should be able to read manuscripts, see detail in photographs, or otherwise closely examine all historical items. Items that are damaged—ripped, stained, or faded— are acceptable as long as the items remain legible to our audience.
Contributing Partners are responsible for the copyright of the items they put on MMN. The Maine Memory Network and the Maine Historical Society will not be held responsible for copyright violations committed by Contributing Partners. See your Contributing Partner Agreement for details.
Ensure that you have the authority to publish an item online, or have at least done your due diligence in attempting to determine who owns such rights. Originals are preferable to copies. If someone else owns the original, it is probably not appropriate for your institution to put it online. There might be exceptions to this, for which you should get permission in writing. If originals do not exist for some reason and the copies clearly are in the public realm and are of sufficient quality, these can be put on the MMN. Be sure to always check copyright regulations and privacy rules to ensure that the items can be used legally. Check the Library of Congress website for more information.
Items Owned by an Individuals
Often, Contributing Partners wish to include items on Maine Memory Network that are owned by individuals in their communities. Contributing Partners can serve as the sponsor for the item(s) and should follow the same guidelines noted above in deciding whether to accept the item.
Sponsoring organizations must obtain a release form from the individual that insures that the organization has his or her permission to photograph or scan the item and to submit it to Maine Memory Network. This release form must also specify fair use policy for items placed online to insure that the contributing individual understands how users might legally make use of the image that is placed on Maine Memory Network.
The Maine Historical Society staff is the final arbiter of what is placed on the MMN website. We reserve the right to accept or reject any items.