January 12, 2012

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Grant to Assist VSU in Preserving, Providing Access to DigitalArchives Data

VALDOSTA -- Deborah S. Davis, certified archivist and director of Valdosta State University Archives and Special Collections, has been awarded a $6,000 grant for preservation assistance from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Preservation and Access.

Funds will be used to secure services from LYRASIS. Created in 2009 and dedicated to helping libraries operate more efficiently, LYRASIS consultants will assist VSU in conducting a digital inventory and a digital preservation readiness assessment, both of which will be used to develop policies and procedures for preservation/access of digital data.

“Even though it’s a small grant, it’s very important because electronic records are the future for archives, and the ways to preserve them are completely different than paper,” Davis said, adding that moving from preserving paper records for hundreds of years to preserving electronic records is a huge change.

When writing the abstract for her grant proposal, Davis noted that VSU Archives and Special Collections has a host of digital files, as well as files that need to be digitized, in a variety of formats, including CDs, DVDs, JPGs, TIFs, PDFs, cassettes, video tapes, audio files, and so on. She said her staff had recently acquired a storage disk array of five terabytes and had begun to consolidate all files not currently on CD or DVD onto that storage space.

“The digital material includes some of our most popular collections, such as the South Georgia Folklife Collection and oral histories, our East African Art and Artifact Collection, and our various indexes to newspapers and collections,” she added. “Many pieces of our university archives have been digitized or came to us initially in digital format. Digital records are becoming more and more critical to our archives. In the last six months, prior to our acquisition of the storage array, we lost over 80 gigabytes of data from three external hard drives and four PCs. While the storage array can help safeguard our data, we have no consistent policies and procedures for tracking materials there, nor any overall strategy for digital preservation. Working with consultants from LYRASIS, we will first conduct a digital inventory and then a digital preservation readiness assessment, both of which will be used to develop initial policies and procedures for preservation and access of digital data. We will also develop a broader long-term plan for stability of digital records.”

VSU Archives and Special Collections supports the university’s commitment to scholarly and creative work, enhances instructional effectiveness, encourages faculty scholarly pursuits, and supports research in selective areas of institutional strength focused on regional need by collecting, preserving, and providing access to records of enduring historical value documenting the history and development of VSU and the surrounding South Georgia region. It is located on the fourth floor of Odum Library in the William H. Mobley IV Reading Room and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays.

To learn more, contact Deborah S. Davis, certified archivist and director of VSU Archives and Special Collections, at (229) 333-7150 or dsdavis@valdosta.edu or visit www.lyrasis.org, www.valdosta.edu/library/, or www.neh.gov.

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