Pearl River finalist for cultural heritage digitization award

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Pearl River Community College’s Garvin H. Johnson Library is attempting to save the past in the present through a sought-after historical preservation award. 

Pearl River is one of three finalists for the Mississippi Digital Library’s Cultural Heritage Digitization Award. This award is offered annually in conjunction with partners across the state. The chosen collection will be digitized and published electronically as part of the collection in the Mississippi Digital Library.

The award is available to any Mississippi-based cultural heritage society or organization that possesses items significant to Mississippi history and scholarship, but does not have the personnel, physical or technical resources to create a digital collection. Preference is given to materials that are considered at-risk or those that showcase Mississippi from a new or different perspective.

“This grant will provide preservation and digital access to the PRCC Scrapbooks,” said Public Services Librarian Amanda Meyers. “Being digitally accessible will allow more people to read and search for information related to the college and the people who have shaped the school and community into what it is now.”

Meyers was the instigator of Pearl River receiving the award and plans to take on the task of processing the meta-data for the project should PRCC be selected.

Before an official public relations department was a staple on college campuses, the duties of preserving local news coverage often fell to those already charged with protecting historical materials — librarians. 

The Garvin H. Johnson Library, located on the Poplarville campus, houses the college’s archive. This collection includes yearbooks, publications such as bulletins, reports and the campus newspaper. One of the most interesting and comprehensive aspects of the archive are the newspaper clippings related to the college, its students, faculty, alumni, clubs and sports teams.

These scrapbooks tell the history of the college through local news and reflect the influence the institution has had on the local community. As a whole, the collection also represents the lower Pearl River Valley and its rural community. Significant events such as World War II and Hurricane Camille are reflected in these clippings through the impact on the institution.

Pearl River was visited Tuesday by Jenifer Ishee, a Digital Archivist with Mississippi State University and a Mississippi Digital Library board member, to review the material being requested for digitization.

If Pearl River receives the award, it would be provided 80 cumulative hours of on-site, archival quality digitation service to be completed over a one-week period by the digitation team. The staff would also receive training to aid in future projects on topics including digitation, file naming and structure, best practices and policies and digital preservation. 

Additionally, the library would receive copies of all master and access digital files created by the digitation team via transferable media and gain a partnership with the Mississippi Digital library including a digital collection hosted on the to showcase the newly digitized materials.

The recipient of the award should be announced by early February.

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Pearl River Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities. The College does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, veteran status, or disability. For inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies or to request accommodations, special assistance, or alternate format publication please contact Tonia M. Seal, Director of Admissions and Records/ ADA/Civil Rights Coordinator at P.O. Box 5559, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1060 or Maghan James, Assistant Vice President of Student Services/Title IX Coordinator at P.O. Box 5805, Poplarville, MS 39470 or 601-403-1132.

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