WMU News

Community groups invited to learn about digitization center

May 6, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Representatives from community organizations are invited to learn more about a Western Michigan University center filled with cutting-edge digital preservation equipment at an open house Wednesday, May 19.

The Western Michigan University Libraries Regional Digitization Center includes specialized equipment and expert staff for digital projects from small film scanning to large and 3D object digitization. The center recently began offering its services on a cost-recovery basis to community organizations, a move that will be marked by the open house from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the center, on the lower level of Waldo Library. The event will include demonstrations of digitization for a variety of documents and objects and discussion of current metadata and preservation techniques. It is aimed at representatives from historical societies, libraries, associations, museums, college and university departments and other non-profit organizations.

"We are interested in helping organizations preserve and catalog their historical documents, objects, photos and recordings," says Lou Ann Morgan, digitization lab manager. "For example, a museum may have fragile original documents they want to preserve by digitizing them. We're also working to digitize and catalog a number of WMU centennial-related items. And we're helping another group digitize and catalog their obituary collection, which is heavily used by genealogists. In its new format, the collection will not wear out, many more people can use it at once and it will be more searchable. We can even digitize oral histories and other sound files."

The open house will also highlight WMU's participation in a statewide project called the Making of Modern Michigan, which focuses on "Digitizing Michigan's Hidden Past" and making information accessible to all. The University's Regional Digitization Center is one of six centers throughout the state funded for the program, which aims to empower libraries to contribute to a digital collection about the state's history. More than 75 libraries statewide are contributing to the digital collection.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

WMU News
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