Northern Michigan University Archives Update

untitled-17A lot of things are going to be happening at the Archives this semester. Here’s an update about what’s going on:

New Online Exhibit

You may remember us announcing several months ago an upcoming online exhibit about student protests at Northern in the late 1960s. Well, a few complications pushed back the release date, but it should be going up within a week!

The site has multiple layers to explore. You can read a summary of the events or dive deeper into the sources themselves. We have digitized many sources including newspaper articles, photos, other documents, oral histories, and even some audio recorded at the protests themselves!

The idea first developed last March and research started in May. As one of the people involved with the project as a researcher and writer, I can tell you that we’re very excited to finally be able to share this project with you! Many thanks to the amazing Kelley Kanon an Anne Krohn who have been working very hard to digitize the sources and code and design the website and who have dealt with many delays and revisions!

Digitization and Transcription Project

The state of our oral history collections is currently widely varied. Some were donated with notes or transcripts, some were not. Sometimes those notes are mere topics, sometimes they are descriptions or summaries. In general, those interviews which were donated without transcripts or notes still don’t have them. This limits their accessibility for patrons, and makes it difficult for researchers to find potentially very helpful interviews.

However, even creating notes for a single interview, let alone transcribing it, is a very time-consuming process. The sheer number of oral histories and other audio and video records that we have makes digitization difficult as well. Hence, making these records more accessible has been put on the back burner for a very long time.

James Shefchik and Emily Winnell from the Center for Upper Peninsula Studies are helping us to change that. They are going to go through about five hundred oral history interviews and create a basic summary of what is on the tape. They are also going to develop a ranking for the importance of getting the interviews transcribed and digitized. The long-term goal is to make all of our oral history interviews and other audio records available online with basic notes or transcriptions.

NMU Video Collection

Our video records have been in similar disarray, but in the next few months they are finally going to be properly accessioned by Anne Krohn and Jessica Ulrich, which will make them much more accessible!

Comprehensive Records Survey

The Comprehensive Records Survey of all university records has finally begun and is running smoothly, although it’s keeping our records center team of Morgan Paavola, Prince Parker, and Stefan Nelson very busy. The offices that we have worked with so far are responding well and have been very helpful.

New Collection, Books, and Shelves

Dr. Magnaghi has kindly donated more of his papers to us along with many boxes of books about Michigan and the Upper Peninsula and six bookshelves. The many carts of boxes arrived today and accessioning will begin in the near future.

Upcoming Events at the Archives

Look for announcements about two Evening at the Archives events this semester! As details about time and date are confirmed, we will be releasing that information here and on social media.

On April 10, the Marquette County Genealogical Society will be hosting a genealogy lock-in at Peter White Public Library. We will be there with a display about genealogical resources at the Archives, so come and say hi to us! Space is limited at the lock-in, so be sure to register quickly after registration open if you want to go!

Written by Annika Peterson

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