The goal of the Minerals Data and Information Rescue in Alaska (MDIRA) or Minerals Data at Risk project was to recover and make easily available the full body of Alaska mineral information through a coordinated system that provides efficient access or guides to all mineral related files, documents, and physical samples held in the public domain. This body of information includes geologic framework data now out of print as well as data collections from agency and private sector geologists that was never published, geophysical data, state and federal mining claim information, geochemical data sets, and M.SC and Ph.D. dissertations on Alaska geology that exist in university libraries across the nation.
The MDIRA project was implemented in response to recognition of the importance of the Alaska subcontinent’s mineral resources to the nation, and a concern that decades of important Alaskan minerals information would be lost. Much information has become less and less available to the public, industry, and government agencies that generated it. Out-of-print government publications are lost through the attrition of unreturned loans or theft. Voluminous files of analytical data that are hard to use or hard to access are ignored in spite of their relevance and value because professionals do not have the time to recover them and convert them to digital format. Recent downsizing of both federal and state geologic agencies has left large volumes of data stranded and in danger of disposal as institutional memory of the data’s significance is lost through continued personnel attrition.
Through special appropriations, the United States Geological Survey (USGS), State of Alaska, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have rescued and made much information available.
Physical sample storage has been improved by increasing the capacity of the Alaska Geologic Materials Center, now located in Anchorage.
Access to information in libraries has been improved by cataloging, increasing collections, and publishing, in 2004, the Guide to Minerals Information (11.3MB pdf).
A web-accessible interagency bibliographic database has replaced the MDIRA bibliographic database formerly accessible at AKGeology.info.
Databases have been improved by standardizing and making available many geologic datasets. A portal containing links to this information, as well as other geology, minerals and land information, is available at AKGeology.info.
Annual progress reports of the MDIRA project are provided below: