Authored by Amanda DeLong-Carter
The Ohio Digitization Interest Group (OhioDIG) is taking a field trip to Alden Library on July 12 for their bimonthly meeting, a change of pace from their usual central Ohio locations. OhioDIG is an open discussion group for librarians, archivists, and other professionals who share an interest in the digitization of cultural heritage materials. The group meetings allow opportunities for networking with those in similar areas of work, and give exposure to young professionals entering or considering the field.
Staff members from Alden’s Digital Initiatives, Metadata Services, and Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections will be giving presentations, followed by a discussion open to all group members. The presentations will show attendees what the Libraries have done to digitize and digitally preserve important historic materials.
For example, Karmen Beecroft, digital projects librarian, will discuss Civil War-era collections of over 1000 letters and eight diaries that have become her largest digitization project to date. She will share the hurdles in the project along with the many historical perspectives gained through exploring these important artifacts.
Additionally, Stacey Lavender, digital projects librarian, will speak about the creation of the Mahn Center’s “Highlights” pages, and Damon DeBorde, head of Metadata Services, will share his work on the Don Swaim Collection.
Bill Kimok, Ohio University archivist and records manager, will demonstrate the benefits that come with digitally accessible primary sources. His enthusiasm toward his projects that illuminate Ohio University’s history is clear when he shares his efforts to promote the use of these materials for research and education.
“It is important that we have and allow access to these [primary] sources, so that we can make up our own minds about what happened and what it means,” he said. “I believe that experiencing primary sources firsthand makes us smarter, more aware, and makes us more understanding about our past.”
Kimok feels the accessibility of Ohio University’s rich history, archived at Alden Library, gives students a connection to their past that can enrich their educational experience.
“If they share in that knowledge of the past,” he said, “they are bonding with it, making them feel as though they are part of something that has been going on for centuries and is now continuing through them.”
Janet Carleton, Digital Initiatives coordinator and a member of OhioDIG’s Planning Committee, shares this sentiment. For Carleton, accessibility of resources is at the heart of their efforts. “This is the purpose that cultural heritage digitization professionals labor for,” she said. “And meeting up six times a year gives us an opportunity to share tips and ask questions of each other.”