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Archives & Special Collections

NMSU Library Awarded Grant to Digitize Archival Collections

by Jennifer Olguin on 2022-03-24T14:35:00-06:00 | Comments

The NMSU Library has been awarded three grants from the U.S. Department of Education, Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). The three grants, totaling $507,600, are allowing the library to buy more e-books, to build its digitization infrastructure through the purchase of new equipment, and to support the digitization of archival collections that document cultural heritage of the borderland region.

According to Jennifer Olguin, Rio Grande Historical Collections (RGHC) archivist and the principal investigator for the digitization grant, “This grant is a huge move forward. It is an exciting time when we can showcase our diverse holdings that have been tucked away in the stacks. The grant enables us to digitize, physically preserve, and provide online access to rare historical unpublished materials from southern New Mexico and the borderlands. New digital collections will support innovative research and scholarship specifically in the humanities, social sciences and the arts.”

Jennifer and Monika Glowacka-Musial, metadata librarian, together applied for the grant in April 2021. They were notified in mid-December about receiving the award with a short time frame of six months to complete the project. Brainstorming and planning for all stages of the digitization project began immediately, including purchasing necessary equipment, selection and preparation of archival collections, hiring and training student assistants, setting up work-stations, creating collections’ inventories, scanning the materials, adding various metadata along the way, coordinating work, and documenting the entire process.

One of the goals of this project has been to engage NMSU students in learning about versatility of digital collections through their active participation in the digital collections’ development. Based on their hands-on experience in digitizing and curating archival materials, students now have an opportunity to understand the importance of access to reliable primary sources, see the potential for analyzing real data, and reflect on preservation efforts of, for many of them, their own cultural heritage.

Color image of HEERF student, Brandy Lozano

Brandy Lozano, HEERF student working on Spanish language newspapers

Brandy Lozano, an undergraduate student majoring in Engineering Technology is working on digitization of Mesilla Valley Spanish-language newspapers dated from the 1870s to the 1920s. “The Spanish newspapers I looked at had a really big impact on me seeing how people would use these newspapers to communicate with one another,” Brandy said.  “Indeed, it’s something that you don't see in the world today. I can definitely say that I'm enjoying just learning about local news from years before even I was born and even before my mother was born.”

Stay tuned for future updates on this project.


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