6:00 AM, September 22, 2010

AUBURN, AL - To further Auburn University’s commitment to outreach and cooperation with other institutions of higher learning in Alabama, Auburn University Libraries Systems Department has reached a milestone in a year-long project with Tuskegee University aimed at bringing the historical materials in Tuskegee’s archives to a wider audience by making them available online.

This cooperative effort began in the summer of 2009, when the new head of Tuskegee University Archives, Dana Chandler, realized the wealth of historical materials his department was holding and began generating ideas for making them available to researchers worldwide. Putting many of the materials online was the obvious choice, but his department lacked hands-on experience with his preferred software solution: DSpace, an open-source digital content-management package developed at MIT and widely used for digital repositories.

Chandler turned to Auburn University Libraries Systems Department for advice on choosing a software configuration that would meet their needs, as Auburn has had a thriving digital collections program for several years. Aaron Trehub, assistant dean for technology and technical services at Auburn University Libraries, was more than willing to share the knowledge and experience his department has amassed in almost ten years of working with digital collections.

Trehub and Reuben Pasquini, the libraries’ DSpace specialist, made several visits to Tuskegee University to assess the archives’ needs and help install the DSpace software on a server at Tuskegee. Since then, Chandler and his staff has been customizing and populating the database with the items in their archives.

“The collaborative effort between Auburn University Libraries' Systems Department and the Tuskegee University Archives has proven to be very successful,” said Chandler. “Thanks to Aaron Trehub and Reuben Pasquini, we were able to launch our new archives repository website in less time than if we had used a conventional repository software package. Their eagerness to aid us in this endeavor, coupled with their expertise, allowed us to complete our mission with no extra cost to the university.”

“We’re pleased to be able to help a fellow institution of higher learning to make their collections more accessible,” said Trehub. “Our own Auburn researchers will benefit from easy access to Tuskegee’s archives. The free exchange of our collective learning benefits everyone and we look forward to helping other universities that can use the work we’ve done.”

The Tuskegee University Archives Repository website can be accessed through the Tuskegee University website: www.tuskegee.edu. Click on the button labeled “Libraries.” Scroll down and select the heading “Tuskegee University Archives Repository.”

(Contributed by W. Jayson Hill.)

Contact: W. Jayson Hill (334) 844-7439 (wjh0008@auburn.edu)

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