Digitizing and Describing Moving Image Content Reaches New Users

I honestly don’t know how many times I’ve heard or read the phrase “I saw it in the Civil Rights Digital Library and I’m wondering if…” all I know is it has been a lot. The Civil Rights Digital Library (CRDL) is a digital portal that is part of a partnership between the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG) and my department, the Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection (BMA) at the University of Georgia Libraries that has lasted for over 10 years now. About 30 hours worth of content from the BMA’s WSB and WALB Newsfilm collections were digitized and described for that project.

The impact to BMA of having digital content out there via the DLG has been profound. I believe it has truly changed one of the ways people find us. To have our content go out through the DLG and then through the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) which launched in 2013 can be seen in our use statistics. I know not every request for content comes to us at BMA, because content is discovered through these portals, but I’m guessing some do– having items in DLG and DPLA just makes people aware that we exist and might have content they are interested in. We have continued to digitize newsfilm content over the years, so now there are over 12,000 clips available to view online and share through the DLG.

In 2009, we had 152 requests for content from BMA to be digitized or used for viewing by students, faculty, general researchers, and producers. In 2017, that number grew to 1173 items, an increase of 671%. Ten years ago, getting the content together for digitization was challenging, now, it is something we do every day because we have the equipment and tools to do the work in-house. In the age of YouTube and Netflix, most users expect online access to audiovisual content and that is what we aim to provide.

Working with the DLG has been incredibly beneficial. We’ve had content digitized, but we’ve also had content described, and to me that has been a huge value to us. In some ways the digitization is the easier part because it can be outsourced to a vendor or we can digitize for ourselves, but because we are small department the need for describing the content is where we need the most help. Most recently we have been working with the DLG on home movie and town film collections from Georgia through one of their subgrant awards. This labor intensive, crucially important work to provide description is the only way to be able to find the content accurately. Describing content requires analysis, some historical perspective, and an eye for detail, and the DLG does that very well. For the Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection, collaborating with the Digital Library of Georgia has always been a win-win.

–Ruta Abolins, Director,  Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection

Featured image: Still image from WSB-TV newsfilm clip of mayor Ivan Allen, Jr. escorting Coretta Scott King away from Hartsfield International Airport immediately after learning about the death of her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Atlanta, Georgia, 1968 April 4 http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/crdl/do:ugabma_wsbn_53565

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2018 Grant Program Increases Digital Participation in the Digital Library of Georgia

ATHENS, Ga — Berry College, Georgia State University, and the Oconee Regional Library are among three Competitive Digitization grants awarded through an ongoing subgranting program with the Digital Library of Georgia.

 

These institutions are recipients of the second set of grants awarded in a program intended to broaden partner participation in the Digital Library of Georgia (DLG). The DLG solicited proposals for historic digitization projects in a statewide call, and applicants submitted proposals for projects with a cost of up to $5,000. The projects will be administered by DLG staff who will perform digitization and descriptive services on textual (not including newspapers), graphic, and audio-visual materials.

 

Sheila McAlister, director of the Digital Library of Georgia notes: “Thanks to our review partners from Georgia Humanities, Georgia Public Library Service, Georgia Arts Council, Georgia Historic Records Advisory Council, and DLG partner volunteers, we’ve selected another strong slate of digital projects that reflect the diversity of Georgia. The collections document Berry College’s history from the 1940s to the 1960s, African American education in Laurens County during the 1930s, and finally, Atlanta LGBTQ entertainment and news during the last decade of the 20th century.”

 

Preference in the selection process was given to proposals from institutions that had not yet collaborated with the DLG. The Oconee Regional Library is a new partner for the DLG.

 

The three recipients and their projects include:

 

  • Berry College (Mount Berry, Ga.) – Digitization of the Southern Highlander (Spring/Summer 1943 – September 1966). The Southern Highlander, the official magazine published by the Berry Schools in Mount Berry, Georgia, documents the Berry Schools’ history. This publication, which was the primary publication used by the Berry Schools to communicate with potential donors and the public, is an invaluable primary source for anyone doing research on the history of Berry or education or philanthropy in Georgia in the first half of the twentieth century. The time frame of 1943-1966 includes the transitional period after Martha Berry’s passing, the impact of World War II on the school, the school’s fostering of liberal arts education and professional programs, earning accreditation by Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, and expanding recruitment to urban, non-traditional, and commuter students.

 

  • Georgia State University (Atlanta, Ga.) – Digitization of the Mike Maloney Out TV Collection (1999-2000). Out TV Atlanta, a half-hour weekly news and entertainment show focused on LGBTQ life, ran from 1999-2000. The brainchild of Michael B. Maloney, the show was supported financially by Maloney’s family and friends. Maloney used his funds to purchase air time, and Out TV aired in Atlanta and Savannah. Its reporters (most of whom were volunteers) included Rob Martin, Leane Reed and Terence Steele. As producer of the show, Maloney saw that most of the coverage of LGBTQ life involved night clubs and drag queens, and he wanted to focus on “ordinary” gay people who were firefighters, attorneys, and regular members of the community. Issues covered include Governor Roy Barnes’ address to an Atlanta gay professional organization (the first in the state), and the first Gay Pride Parade in Savannah.

 

  • Oconee Regional Library (Dublin, Ga.) – Digitization and description of teacher’s monthly reports from 37 of the African American rural and city schools in operation during the 1930s in Laurens County, Georgia. The reports were created by individual teachers for submission to the Laurens County Superintendent, and list student names, ages, grade levels, and attendance for the month. Many of these records also display teacher’s salaries, addresses, and other information. These resources are of significant value to family and local historians given that much African American educational history was not recorded or recounted elsewhere. Genealogists will appreciate the listing of children by name and age.
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