February 16, 2018

Jenna Nolt | Movers & Shakers 2015 — Educators

Jenna Nolt


Digital Initiatives Librarian, Olin Library, Kenyon College, Gambier, OH

MIS, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 2011

Publications Warehouse; Biodiversity Heritage Library; Internet Archive; Digital Kenyon

Photo by Andrew Fels

Digitizing the Crown Jewels

In 2012, then-U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) librarian Jenna Nolt spent six months researching a mysterious volume of photographs called The Russian Diamond Fund found in the USGS’s rare book room in Reston, VA. It proved to be a record of the imperial regalia of the Romanov czars. By comparing the photos against the official inventory of Russian crown jewels, says Nolt, “I was able to determine that there were several pieces of jewelry depicted in our volume that were not in the official inventory and that had been lost to history for almost a hundred years.”

That volume is just one of thousands of rare and unique publications that Nolt and her team digitized in two years to make USGS’s vast scientific holdings available to the public. Publications Warehouse, a USGS repository; the Biodiversity Heritage Library; and the Internet Archive all include digitized volumes, maps, slides, microfiche, and film.

Nolt also brought special needs students from nearby Chantilly High School, VA, to intern on these projects and develop professional skills through the Secondary Transition to Employment (STEP) program. “Working with those students and seeing them gain in confidence and take satisfaction in their accomplishments was by far the most important outcome of this initiative to me,” she says.

In August 2014, Nolt joined Kenyon College as digital initiatives librarian, where she oversees Digital Kenyon. “Jenna had made progress in moving Digital Kenyon from its initial roots to a robust and exciting place for faculty and staff to collaborate and create interesting content,” says Kenyon library director Amy Badertscher.

“I am always looking for the next mystery, the next unknown, whether the spark be an unmarked book, a patron’s question, or my own curiosity,” Nolt says.

This article was published in Library Journal. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.



  1. When were the two items – photograph volume and the official inventory – published? Are we comparing a Tsarist-era item with a post-revolution one?