A brand new episode of Media Meet, featuring NMU Archivist Marcus Robyns and archives volunteer Karen Kasper, aired this weekend on WNMU. Along with Michigan Tech Archivist Lindsay Hiltunen, they discussed the upcoming UPLINK project and the ways it will help in sharing the Upper Peninsula’s rich history. View the half-hour program on the WNMU-TV website here.
Upper Peninsula Digital Network (UPLINK) Project
With data from 26 of the Upper Peninsula’s 33 heritage organizations, representatives from NMU and MTU as well as Lake Superior State University and the Peter White Public Library came together to form this digital preservation and access network. The project has received two grants from the National Historical Publications & Records Commission of the National Archives, with the more recent implementation grant totaling $99,918. The project is now moving forward with hiring a digital project archivist and creating a Board of Directors.
UPLINK’s mission is to collaboratively manage and sustain a low-cost, secure, andUPLINK Mission Statement
geographically distributed digital preservation and access service for locally created digital primary source material documenting the history of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
The project was created in response to a variety of needs that currently exist in the U.P. Local heritage organizations, like museums and historical societies, have extraordinarily useful records in their collections. However, most of them are not being fully utilized due to lack of researcher accessibility. The collections are also in various stages of preservation and decomposition, creating an impetus to move quickly and create a more permanent solution. Digitizing the records solves both of those problems, both by allowing greater access online and by creating a back-up digital version of the records.
Until the creation of UPLINK, this is where the problem stood. Although it would have been ideal to digitize the collections, many smaller heritage organizations simply did not have the manpower or technology to undergo the time-consuming digitization process. Enter UPLINK, which created the infrastructure to temporarily transfer, digitize, and return the physical collections while providing the online platform to host and preserve the new digital versions.
As collections are identified throughout the region, they will be transferred to service hubs at NMU, MTU, and LSSU to be converted. From there, access to each collection will be provided on Preservica, which already hosts NMU’s Italian American Oral History and Cloverland magazine collections. The digital records will also be arranged and described via finding aids on ArchivesSpace, and have metadata published on the Digital Public Library of America.
We are so excited to begin work on providing access to these records for the community! You can see our website for more information on UPLINK, and stay tuned for future updates on this blog. Happy researching!
This post was written and formatted by Emily Tinder.