Archives and special collections works to preserve history digitally at USU

Digitization involves the conversion of text, pictures, or sound into a digital form that can be processed by a computer. At Utah State University’s Merrill Cazier Library more than 120,000 images, manuscripts, state documents, personal journals, all kinds of historical items are going into a huge digital archive that has a much longer life span than paper, for example.

On KVNU’s For the People program on Tuesday, Todd Welch, associate dean for Special Collections and Archives, said they’ve also digitally documented specialty items such as beat poetry, the Jack London papers, Mormon Americana and the rich history of the 130 years of Utah State University.

“Then our newspaper collections, which I think a lot of your listeners would be interested in, we participated in the Utah digital newspaper project and so we have a lot of the old, historic, pre-1923 small community newspapers that came out either weeklies or bi-weeklies. And so it’s a rich history of what life was like (in the) 19th and early 20th centuries,” he said.

Welch said it’s practical to preserve history this way because today’s students are wired differently than past generations and expect things, including historical documents, to be online. So they’re not likely to come to a reading room and look through boxes or folders. More information can be found at <a href=”” target=”_blank”></a> including information on how you can donate, or have scanned, items of historical interest to be digitized.

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