NEH Grant Funds UI Library’s Effort to Digitize Latah County History
March 23, 2016
The University of Idaho Library is partnering this summer with the Latah County Historical Society (LCHS) to create a digital and physical archive of the history of Latah County.
On Saturday, June 4, 2016, at Moscow’s 1912 Center, the partners are hosting a public “Common Heritage” event, which will give community members the opportunity to work with the UI Library’s experienced staff to digitize their documents related to the history of Moscow and the surrounding area. Material collected during the event may become part of the Latah County Common Heritage Digital Collection, which will be made available on the UI Library’s website.
“We are interested in creating an inclusive and community-based archive using both tangible and digital representations,” said Dulce Kersting, executive director of the LCHS. “We are looking for people to bring in their family and personal photographs, journals, diaries, scrapbooks, correspondence, and objects that relate to life on the Palouse. We hope that by being proactive about collecting and curating local stories that we are able to represent all aspects of the greater community.”
The effort is being funded by an $11,849 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition to the digitization event, the library will offer public lectures on digital scholarship and the value of community archives. The UI Library’s project, titled “Preserving the Recent for the Future: Generating the Latah County Common Heritage Collection through Community Digitization,” was the only NEH Common Heritage grant awarded in the state this year.
“We're really looking forward to seeing what our community values as part of its past,” said Devin Becker, project director and head of Data and Digital Services at the UI Library. “Too much local history is stored in basements and attics. We want to help make these historical stories and treasures available online and let everyone see what it was like to live in Latah County.”
Later this year, the partners will host a digital collection launch party featuring local experts the importance of community-generated archives. The historical society is also creating two physical exhibits featuring materials from the digital collection.
Directing the project with Becker is Erin Stoddart, head of Special Collections and Archives at the UI Library, and Kersting.
“Together, these events will benefit the future study of Idaho history by collecting historical materials that document underrepresented eras in both the UI Library and LCHS archival collections,” Stoddart said.
Community members may also consider donating their personal cultural materials for permanent collection at the UI Library’s Special Collections and Archives department or the Latah County Historical Society. More details about the event will be released at a later date.
Questions and comments about the project may be directed to Erin Stoddart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Head, Special Collections and Archives, Library
About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at uidaho.edu