Thursday, October 29, 2009

Digitization Czar?

Last week, at a conference, I opined that SC should have a Digitization Czar. The idea was immediately and vocally dismissed. It was all in good humor but my point is serious. There are many SC digitization sites coming online in so many different places. We don't have any resource that keeps us up to date on new sites.

Recently, this became very clear to me when I visited the SC Military Museum in Columbia, SC. They have created a searchable database of the Official Roster of South Carolina Servicemen and Servicewomen - World War II. This five volume set includes the names, discharge dates, birthdates, hometown and awards of the 166119 South Carolinaians who served during WWII. Who would know that this valuable resource is online! I was very excited. The link is now on the "Other SC Resources" list.

The site also has digitized all the DOD News Releases during 1966-1969. These news releases provide nationwide casualties lists from the Vietnam War for those years. Granted we can probably get as much information from Ancestry or the Wall. But to see the original document, a primary resource, is a tingling experience.

In lieu of a Digitization Czar the Dead Librarian will continue to publish online resources for SC genealogical research. If the list gets too big I may have to consider a Dead Librarian web site. Can the dead move up in the world? LOL


Moultrie Creek said...

I suggest you join the Genealogy Research Resources group on Diigo, the online bookmarking platform, and add links to those archives for everyone in the community.

WoW Librarian said...

The State Library has a wiki that tracks, among other things, the various digitization projects that we know about. All SC library staff are welcome to update it at any time. The url is You can find the information under "SC Collections and Digitization". The direct URL is While this does not replace a czar, it does provide a collection place for those sites.

James said...

Suggestion: If you use the internet for free at the library, for every five hours of internet use you have to volunteer 1 hour to help index that library's newspaper obituaries into a searchable format.

I've been to every library in the upstate and there is always a wait to use the computer (usually for myspace, poker, or other goofing off).

Let's say your main branch has 20 computers, that are used for 10 hours each day. That is 200 hours of internet use - that could be 40 hours of volunteer time a day. People already have to have cards to login, I'm sure they could put some kind of hourly use tracker on the account.

The librarians and more experienced microfilm users could volunteer to print off all the obituary sections from the papers and just have a huge pile of paper ready to be reviewed. By doing that you wouldnt have to teach people about microfilm.

Right now the concept seems far fetched - but just imagine if it were possible.