Skip to content
Sep 10 / Christine Illichmann

SIS Students Present at Michigan Archival Association Annual Conference and ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2018.

This guest post by Mattie Dugan, SIS Student and Vice President of the WSU Student Chapter of the Society of American Archivists, highlights recent work by a group of students as they digitize the Michigan Black History Bibliography for the Reuther Library. Their work was recently featured as part of a poster session and presentation at ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2018.

Wayne State’s Student Chapter of the Society of American Archivists has spent the past year working to digitize the Michigan Black History Bibliography for the Walter P. Reuther Library. The Michigan Black History Bibliography (MBHB) is a one of a kind resource created in the 1970s that documents black history in our state. The index cross-references key players and events with books, articles, dissertations, theses, annotated bibliographies and other, more obscure, resources. This index has been available in the reading room at the Reuther for decades, but remains relatively unused. SAA Students have taken on the challenge of bringing this index out of obscurity and into the hands of researchers the world over.

Nathaniel Arndts, Sarah Conrad, Mattie Dugan, Lori Eaton, Ellen Gleason, Laura Kennedy and Natalie Piernak started this endeavor by researching potential workflows and digitizing over 3,500 index cards. Their original plan was to create a Drupal website and migrate it to the Reuther’s servers, but this plan missed the mark for a myriad of reasons. Among them were that the BibCite module they intended to use in Drupal had not been beta-tested and bugs could not be overcome. In addition, Drupal setup requires specialized knowledge, the learning of which, while required to maintain a site, may not serve future SAA members. The team has now reassessed their priorities, though, and is moving forward with an information-first approach. Students are now working to locate resources listed on cards while gaining bibliographic control of the resource through a metadata schema based in Dublin Core. They plan to import this information into Omeka to create a searchable, metadata-driven site. 

It is hoped that the Michigan Black History Bibliography site will go live in January of 2018. Until then, members are presenting a poster on MBHB and the process of its digitization at the Michigan Archival Association Annual Conference and ARCHIVES*RECORDS 2018.