Hurricane Katrina taught us many lessons. One is how quickly material things can be destroyed. Members of the Jackson County Historical and Genealogical Society became keenly aware of the vulnerability of one-of-a-kind records, books, maps and photographs housed at the Pascagoula Public Library’s Local Genealogy and History Department. The society has raised funds for computer and scanning equipment to begin the task to digitize and organize these assets and back them up in safe locations.
The first project tackled hundreds of file folders containing local family histories collected over a period of years. These are heavily used by local and family history researchers. Future plans include digitizing approximately 7,687 books, 5,725 periodicals, 3,833 microfilm rolls, 2,600 microfiche, 750 maps, 2,860 scanned family vertical files, 2,030 local history vertical files, 60 oral histories, 1,365 photos, 130 slides from local newspapers, 59 VHS tapes, 34,408 scanned obituaries, and 194 boxes of archives from Jackson County.
Not only does this project make backup copies in case of future disasters, it also makes the materials more accessible to students, genealogists, historians, and others. The committee is working towards making the scanned materials accessible online.
You can read more about this great project in an article by Joanne Anderson in the GulfLive web site at http://goo.gl/HYLbZO.
What is YOUR local society doing to preserve valuable historical items and to make them more available to the public?