Historical archives and collections
The Norwegian Polar Institute library has a number of special collections and archives. Some of these have a register or database.
Ove Hermansen’s Nobile collection
This collection consists of nearly 800 letters, newspaper cuttings, manuscripts and other material connected with Umberto Nobile. Ove Hermansen was a Dane who corresponded for many years with Nobile and other people connected with the disastrous crash of Nobile’s airship Italia in 1928. In 2004, Hermansen donated the entire collection to the Polar Museum in Tromsø and the Norwegian Polar Institute. It is now kept in the Polar Institute library.
Catalogue of Ove Hermansen’s Nobile collection (PDF, 0.1MB)
Two large archive cupboards filled with biographical material about people connected with the polar regions.
Newspaper cutting archive
Catalogue of newspaper cuttings collected by Norges Svalbard- og Ishavs-undersøkelser and the Norwegian Polar Institute from the end of the 1920s until shortly after 2000.
Gustav Smedal’s newspaper cutting archive
Five shelf metres of folders containing newspaper clippings collected by Gustav Smedal, who was a central person in polar circles in Norway before the last war. He was particularly engaged in the Greenland issue in the 1920s and 1930s.
Overview of Gustav Smedal’s newspaper cutting archive (PDF, 0.1MB)
The library has just over 300 diaries, mostly written by wintering trappers in Svalbard and Greenland and members of polar expeditions. The collection contains both originals and transcripts. An increasing number of these are available in full text.
Vessel log books
Log books from vessels that have taken part in trapping or scientific expeditions. Only the original versions exist.
Polar map archive
The archice holds old maps from Norges Svalbard- og Ishavs-undersøkelse around the time of the naming of Svalbard as well as maps from Greenland and early antartic maps.
A collection of original maps, mostly Dutch from the 16th century. The library has had good-quality facsimile versions of five maps from the collection reproduced. These can be purchased from the library for NOK 100 each, or NOK 400 for the whole set.
Ice limit archive
This archive contains large parts of the basic data for the report, ACSYS Historical Ice Chart Archive (1553-2002).
Kjell-G. Kjær's historical register of polar vessels is a database containing details of some 1,500 vessels built before 1940 that were used in Arctic waters, for sealing, exploration and other purposes. The information has been collected by Kjær through many years of work visiting archives and examining open sources.
Magnus Sefland's historical register of polar vessels overlaps Kjær's register thematically and also has some vessels built after 1940. This register is stored in ring binders, please contact the library of The Norwegian Polar Institute for information.
Logbooks from ships that have participated in expeditions, hunting or research. Only the original logs are available for consultation.
The Norwegian Polar Institute's photo library consists of a total of 100,000 photographs (approximately 60,000 photos from the polar regions) dating 140 years back from 1872 and up to today. A range of interesting historical pictures may be found, as well as depictions of polar landscapes, wildlife and field work.
The arial image archive consists of about 57 000 images from Spitzbergen, Greenland ant The Antarctic, dating back to 1932. Arial images after 2008 are taken with digital cameras.
Images may be orded through .
Norsk Polarinstitutts eldre arkiver er avlevert til Statsarkivet i Tromsø.
Arkivet fra Norsk Polarinstitutt (med forløpere) er forskningsmessig interessant for flere fagfelt. En rekke naturvitenskapelige disipliner er representert i materialet, blant annet biologi, geografi, geologi og glasiologi. I tillegg er arkivet interessant for polarhistorisk forskning generelt og for mer spesielle prosjekter, f. eks. innenfor kartlegging og økonomisk utnyttelse av naturressurser i polarstrøk.
Statlig norsk polarforskning har i hovedsak vært organisert i tre forskjellige tiltak. Det første var De norske statsunderstøttede Spitsbergenekspedisjoner (DNSS), som regnes å ha fungert i perioden 1906–1928. Etterfølgeren Norges Svalbard- og Ishavsundersøkelser (NSIU) ble opprettet i 1928. I 1948 ble så Norsk Polarinstitutt etablert som en videreføring og utvidelse av NSIU.
English translations of Russian scientific articles
Between 1971 and 1997, Peter Hagevold translated more than 1000 articles from Russian scientific publications. Some of the early ones were translated into Norwegian, but the majority were translated into English. Copies of the articles can be purchased from the library.
Around 6000 pamphlets of various kinds, including manuscripts, journal articles, book chapters, booklets and brochures. All the documents in this collection are registered in BIBSYS.