We are pleased to announce receipt of grant funding from the National Recording Preservation Foundation (NRPF) to digitize 991 audio recordings of ISU lectures. Read the press release here.
The chosen selection spans the 1970s to the 1990s, and were nominated based on their high cultural, historical, and aesthetic value; as well as the endangered nature of magnetic media, the lack of access options for this medium, the high research value and demand for the selection, and the ability to share them publicly, free of restrictions.
The project will create roughly 1,640 hours with corresponding metadata and captions. Funds will be used to outsource the digitization of 259 reel-to-reel audiotapes and 732 audiocassettes to Preserve South. The ISU Library will match requested funds to outsource captioning to Rev.com, as well as create metadata and provide online open access to the digitized audio files. Objects will be accessioned into Islandora, the ISU Library’s digital collections platform, as well as Aviary for full-text searching and syncing of captions. For additional discoverability and accessibility, copies will be added to our YouTube channel. The collection MARC record and finding aid will be updated to include links to the digital content.
The Lecture Series consist of over 3,000 audiovisual recordings in a multitude of formats dating back to 1958. Committed to the philosophy that the function of the university is to provide “a market place of ideas,” the Lecture Series has brought to the ISU campus a broad spectrum of talks: political debates; academic forums; and cultural events, including musical performances, art and dance programs, and films. In addition, since 1966, ISU has hosted annual series devoted to national affairs and world affairs. Notable speakers include: Martin Luther King, Jr., Andy Warhol, Arthur Miller, Maya Angelou, Julian Bond, Cesar Chavez, Angela Davis, Judy Chicago, Sally Ride, Nikki Giovanni, Howard Zinn, Barack Obama, Gloria Steinem, Roxanne Gay, and many others.
While appeal to the student population is a primary focus, the lectures also present topics and issues which may not necessarily be in the mainstream but may broaden students’ awareness. Hence, many of the lectures selected for digitization address topics that our country is grappling with today, namely, race, gender, and sexuality. In selecting the materials, we join calls across the country to center and magnify these voices and movements, and to affirm ISU’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
As a high priority collection for both research and preservation, staff have already begun the process to migrate legacy at-risk formats in the Lectures Series. From 2018-2019, thanks to support from the Lennox Foundation, the ISU Library migrated 1000+ optical discs. In addition, we have digitized 290 audiocassettes and reel-to reel tapes based on external requests and available funding. After this project, approximately 1,240 recordings remain to be digitized.
As a land grant institution, ISU wholeheartedly supports the mission of sharing knowledge beyond the campus borders. This is even more important in the time of COVID, where the campus footprint has increasingly expanded into digital and virtual environments. Adhering to this mission requires a further commitment to digital accessibility and the inclusive practice of removing barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to, digital content by people with disabilities. By providing highly accurate captions for lectures, including online delivery that syncs searchable captions and audio, we expand access to this content for all online users in accordance with WCAG 2.1 AA accessibility guidelines.