|“. . . it is the duty of every good citizen
to use all the opportunities, which occur to him, for preserving
documents relating to the history of our country.”
– Thomas Jefferson
Libraries, besides serving as cultural institutions,
are also community history repositories. Many communities have no institution,
other than the library, that cares about conserving matters related to
the development of the community and the people who helped to make the
community what it is.
Digital Gems is a new service offered by Lincoln Trail
Libraries System that will help to further the preservation of historical
materials. Our goal is to provide a space where libraries and other agencies,
such as genealogical societies, museums, and archives, can digitize and
provide access to historically significant materials in a web-based environment.
This goal meets a similar goal of the Illinois State Library, which provides
grant funding to digitize and preserve historical materials from libraries
and archives around the entire state.
Our first project in this effort is with Allerton Library
in Monticello, Illinois. “Preserving Piatt County Voices from the
Past” created a digitized version of 35 oral history interviews from
early Piatt County settlers. These interviews, previously recorded on audiocassette
tapes, include Robert Allerton’s chauffeur and residents who speak
about grandparents who fought in the Civil War or who remember the flu
epidemic of the early 20th century. These are priceless memories and historical
recollections that need preservation and access.
The second project in this effort is with Giertz Education
Center at the Krannert Art Museum. Students from GSLIS worked with the
LTLS Cataloging Center Head and digitized and cataloged many of the Libraries’ objects.
These are awaiting processing by OCLC and then they will be uploaded into
LINC and will also reside on the Digital Gems server.
Are you interested in joining Digital Gems?
If an institution is interested in joining the Digital Gems project,
please contact Donna Schaal to
obtain more information.