by Charlie Allen, Quality Control Specialist and Josh Brewer, Quality Control Specialist, Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative, Indiana University
In September 2019, Carmel Curtis, Josh Brewer, and Charlie Allen, IU staff members involved in the second phase of the Mass Digitization and Preservation Initiative, took a field trip to the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois to check out a unique mobile audiovisual unit. This mobile audiovisual unit spent time in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2017 and Denver, Colorado, in November of 2018; New Orleans, Louisiana, is the next planned stop.
The Smith Fund Mobile Digitization Truck is the creation of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC) and is part of the Community Curation Program that is supported by the Robert Frederick Smith Explore Your Family History Center that seeks to preserve and share the African American history of various cities throughout the United States.
IU staff members spent two days observing the Smithsonian digitization team of archivists who helped to design and construct the mobile audiovisual unit. The archivists and consultants accepted various media formats, digitized them, and then returned the media along with USB drives containing digitized copies to their owners. Upon agreement with their clients, the Smithsonian will also keep a copy of the digital files and make them accessible online, enabling it to preserve vital and intimate collections that tell unique stories about African American communities and their migrations throughout the United States.
That gives you an overview of what went on, but the pictures tell the story better….