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University of Louisville University Libraries


Digital Collections : August 2009 Flood Collection

August 2009 Flood Collection

About the Collection

This collection contains 210 selected digital images and 3 digital videos from an archived community collection devoted to documenting one of the worst floods in Louisville's history. On the morning of August 4, 2009, record-breaking rains fell in central Louisville and surrounding counties between 7 am and 10 am EDT, with reported hourly rainfall rates as high as 8.83 inches. The Louisville Free Public Library's main branch and the University of Louisville's Belknap and Health Sciences campuses were particularly hard hit by the deluge.

In an effort to preserve images recorded by community members during and after the flood, digital initiatives librarian Rachel Howard decided to create an archived community collection documenting the storm and its aftermath. Howard announced the endeavor via the University of Louisville Libraries website and through various local media outlets and asked community members to send in images and narratives of their experience of the flood. She also requested that donors grant permission to the Libraries to preserve the images and provide access to them.

As of this writing, 33 donors have deposited 1228 digital images and 14 digital videos for preservation, and 30 have granted permissions to the University Archives for their use. Donations were made by email, compact disc, and external hard drive. Six images were downloaded from Facebook and 184 were harvested from Flickr with permission. All images were born digital and were captured using digital cameras and camera phones. Digital capture device models have been documented when information was available.

Personal reflections and stories provided by the donor appear in the "Photographer's comments" field of the image record. All reflections were transcribed verbatim although some omissions were made if the information provided was not pertinent to the image. Time of day the photo was taken has been included due to the rapidity of the event. Late morning means after 10 am, early afternoon means 12-2pm, mid-afternoon means 2-3pm, and late afternoon means 4-6pm. All times are approximate.

In addition to preserving multimedia files donated by community members, the University of Louisville Libraries entered into a partnership with Archive-It, a service of the Internet Archive, to preserve web-based content relating to the flash flood. This archive, which includes mainstream media as well as social network content, can be accessed at

Conditions of Use

The August 2009 Flood Collection is open for research. For further information about permissions, use, and ordering reproductions, contact Archives & Special Collections.

To cite an image from this collection, please use the format:

[Item title], August 2009 Flood Collection, University of Louisville Archives and Records Center, Louisville, Kentucky. Include the reference URL (found by following the link in the header above the digital file).


Rachel I. Howard initiated the project and collected the images from community members. Heather Fox selected images from the donations and uploaded them into CONTENTdm Digital Collection Management Software version 5.1. Metadata was created in accordance with the University of Louisville Digital Initiatives data dictionary (PDF). In some instances the donor provided information about the images and in some instances Heather Fox researched the images in order to provide information on location, time of day, and building names. All titles were provided by Fox.

Terri L. Holtze designed the HTML pages. Dwayne K. Buttler, J.D., provided copyright advice.

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