Grant will preserve cultural heritage across the state with LSU and LSUA library partnership
LSU is accelerating efforts to digitize vulnerable collections for diverse and underfunded cultural heritage institutions in Louisiana with a new grant from nonprofit open technology organization LYRASIS. The LSU Libraries was one of five to receive the 2022 Catalyst Fund from LYRASIS, which serves and supports 1,000 academic and public libraries, archives, museums and cultural heritage organizations in 28 countries.
The Libraries’ proposal, “Y’ALL Means All: Piloting a Distributed Digitization Program to Support Digital Diversity,” was awarded $31,800 to facilitate broader representation of the state’s digital cultural heritage by helping smaller institutions digitize their physical collections and is an expansion of the Libraries’ You Are Louisiana’s Legacy (Y’ALL) Award.
In Louisiana, there are many valuable collections in rural and underfunded institutions that lack the equipment and staffing to digitize, describe and upload their content. Many of these collections are increasingly at risk of being lost in the future due to budget cuts and the threat of climate change, which increases the possibility that the collections will be damaged by flooding and storms.
“While the Louisiana Digital Library does a good job of representing areas of the state with large universities and a concentration of cultural heritage institutions, such as New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette, this project will dedicate resources to filling in geographic gaps,” said Sophie Ziegler, LSU Libraries’ Head of Digital Programs and Services and one of the principal investigators of the proposal.
Already, the LSU Libraries is the home of the Louisiana Digital Library, or LDL, which gathers and showcases the digital cultural heritage of more than 30 institutions across Louisiana. This project will enable the Libraries to leverage its strong ties within the LDL community and work in collaboration with the LSU of
Alexandria, or LSUA, library to set up a digitization hub in North Louisiana—an area sometimes overshadowed by South Louisiana’s culture
and history. This community-focused space will be located at LSUA and will provide digitization equipment and staff expertise to regional institutions that do not currently have access to these resources.
“If we can digitize these papers from these small and community-based groups we can better tell our whole history—Louisiana’s history. Future generations will look back and see the contributions of their ancestors and neighbors and they’ll know that what past peoples did was important. They may even get a better sense of the importance of their own actions right now, in this time and in this world,” said Michelle Riggs Waller, interim director and archivist of LSUA’s James C. Bolton Library.
Principal investigators on the project.
- Leah Duncan, LSU Libraries, Digital Collections Librarian
- Sophie Ziegler, LSU Libraries, Head of Digital Programs and Services
- Gabe Harrell, LSU Libraries, Digitization Lab Manager
- Elisa Naquin, LSU Libraries, Metadata and Digital Strategies Librarian
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