LSU Libraries launches Mobile Digitization Lab

LSU Libraries has launched the Mobile Digitization Lab, a new initiative that shares digitization equipment and expertise with small, community-oriented libraries, archives, and museums across Louisiana. For the pilot project, completed this month, faculty and staff from LSU Libraries visited the Jeanerette Museum with scanners and cameras and spent one week digitizing the museum’s unique historical material.

Content created during this initiative will be added to the Louisiana Digital Library (LDL), an online resource that opens the digital cultural heritage of Louisiana to everyone around the world. Currently the LDL has 25 members across the state and contains images, newspapers, oral histories, books, and manuscripts from Louisiana archives, academic libraries, public libraries, and museums. The LDL is growing rapidly and has received nearly a million views since January 2019.

The Mobile Digitization Lab represents an important next step in efforts to protect and present the history of Louisiana. While the LDL provides a platform for the digital material, limited technology and staffing at many of the state’s libraries, museums and archives presents a barrier to participation. The Mobile Digitization Lab will expand access to historical materials held by these places.

The Jeanerette Bicentennial Park and Museum is a community-oriented museum dedicated to collecting the cultural history of Jeanerette, Louisiana. Active in both local and national exhibitions — including multiple Smithsonian traveling exhibitions — the museum collects the historical materials of the City of Jeanerette and surrounding areas, notably exhibiting artifacts related to the history of Louisiana’s sugarcane and cypress industries. Museum volunteers used their familiarity with the collection and the community to prioritize items for digitization. During the one-week stay, the Mobile Digitization Lab crew was able to digitize nine journals detailing the history of Jeanerette, as well as records from historic local business and local publications.

The Mobile Digitization Lab will ensure that Jeanerette’s most unique materials will be digitally accessible across Louisiana and the world.

Funds for the Mobile Digitization Lab were generously supplied by the Center for Computational Technology and the Office of Research and Economic Development.

Posted in Announcements, Digital Collections, Services

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