Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ball State's Archives & Special Collections & Digital Media Repository Provide Students, Faculty with Resources for Research, Scholarship

The digital projector hanging from the ceiling in the Ball State University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections Research Center is a solid example of how this is not your parent’s perception of an archives.

This is not just a repository of historical documents and artifacts. This is a classroom, a laboratory—a teaching archives -- that utilizes the latest technologies to enable, support, and further the educational experiences of Ball State students.

The physical documents preserved in the Archives are now supplemented and enhanced by digital resources to bring a new dimension to this teaching archive. As classes in diverse disciplines such as Architecture, Art, Education, English, History, and Graphic Design visit the Archives for instructional sessions the students are informed about the digital archives resources that are available to them 24/7 through the Digital Media Repository.

As students access the digital resources, it often leads them back for a visit to the Archives to see the actual documents or to find additional resources that are not available in digital form. They are frequently surprised and pleased to find such a wealth of sources that they didn’t know existed.

Technology is definitely helping the Archives to provide better service to the students of Ball State who may not have thought of using archival resources before.

The materials preserved in our Archives may change as far as format, but the basic purpose of preserving and making them available does not. The purpose is for them to be used for learning, teaching, and research. So this is not the old image of an archives with dusty materials sitting on cobwebbed shelves (which was never a reality for any archives) waiting for someone someday to discover them. This is a modern, technology-enriched, teaching archives where students can learn about the past, prepare for the future, and find sources they need to succeed today.

We invite faculty and students to come share the educational experiences that can be found in the teaching archives and through the Digital Media Repository. We will fire up the digital projector, bring out the treasures, and help you on your journey.

For more information, contact John B. Straw, Ball State University Libraries’ Director for Archives and Special Collections Research Center,, (765) 285-5078.


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