Since the onset of the Internet, the electronic craze has spread rapidly over the years, replacing most things print with a digital form. Castleton State College has finally caught onto the trend as they make the transition from print archiving to digital.
The Castleton Archives Digitization Project, run by a select group of five administrative committee members, focuses on transforming the college’s current archives into digital form, beginning with Spartan newspapers.
“Digitization is the wave of the future,” said committee member Victoria Angis, who has been heavily involved in the project.
Angis believes that the process of digitization will not only eliminate the need to hunt for archived information by hand, but will also make the documents more easily accessible to all.
Students, faculty, alumni, and researchers alike will be able to obtain the documents online in a PDF format, searchable by name and subject matter.
“Many of these documents are the only source of information of that era,” said Angis, stressing the importance of preserving such documents.
The digitization process has been in the works for several years, but without the proper funds has never seen the light of day.
In February 2013, a presentation of the digitization initiative was made to the Castleton State College cabinet, which the committee hopes will help carve out a budget for the project.
“We are a school who needs to spend our financial resources carefully,” said Angis.
Digitizing the Spartans alone is estimated to range anywhere from $7, 000 to $10,000.
“These are little, but important parts of Castleton’s history,” said Coordinator of Media Services and committee member, Karen Sanborn.
As a pilot, a bound version filled two years worth of archived Spartans was digitized utilizing the services of Boston Photo Imaging, who helped the University of Vermont with their transition to web based archiving.
The trial allowed committee members to visualize the potential final product of digital archives and showcased the extent of the pieces searching abilities.
Though there were small issues, such as words near the paper’s crease being cut off, Sanborn was overall pleased with the finished product.
Without digitization Sanborn is worried that the preservation of the archives is in great danger.
Due to their old age, many of the documents are in a fragile state and risk ripping or crumbling if they continue to be handled.
“If there was ever a disaster we would lose everything,” she said.
Digitizing archived Spartans is just the beginning of a much larger project that Sanborn and the rest of the committee hope to eventually put in motion, which involves digitizing the whole archive collection.
With everything from Spartan newspapers dating back to the 1930s to class photographs and records from the 1870’s to present, the college’s full archive collection holds countless years of the schools history.
“I don’t think you can put a prices on the college’s history,” said Sanborn, adding the benefits of digitization outweigh any dollar amount associated with the project. “And this is a big part of it.”