With a $136,000 grant from the Institute of Museum Library Services, a signifi cant portion of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College’s Appalachian Archives has been scanned, cataloged and is available online at www.appalachianarchives.org.
The IMLS Museums for America Grant was give to Southeast with two requirements: the first was to make little-known and under-used collections accessible by making digital surrogates available online; the second was to ensure the long-term preservation and access of those digital copies.
“Creating digital copies, crafting the corresponding catalog record and making materials available online is relatively common practice for cultural institutions,” according to Alexia Ault project cataloger. “Although the catalog record itself is significant, ensuring that the digital files are maintained is also important,” Ault continued.
The preservation process includes creating high resolution digital master reproductions of material culture, oral histories, and photographic images, and low resolution copies of those materials for access and distribution.
“We create two preservation copies of each digital file; one saved on a dedicated Southeast campus server, the other copied to a DVD and stored off-site at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. A checksum algorithm is created for each digital file. A sample of the checksums is run on a weekly basis to determine if the files have been altered or corrupted. The algorithm will note any change in the digital file allowing us to recreate the master preservation copy from the server or DVD copy.” Ault concluded, “We are pleased and proud to have our collections available online, but from my perspective our greatest accomplishment is ensuring that all the effort that went into making those collections accessible will not be lost over time.”