The Upper Peninsula Digital Network (UPLINK) will present a two-day public event hosted by the Ontonagon County Historical Society that features a presentation on the importance of preserving local history and an opportunity for community members to digitize family memorabilia, photographs and cassette recordings. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 14-15 at the Ontonagon Village Housing Commission at 100 Cane Court.
UPLINK is a collaborative, regional digital preservation and access network funded by a National Historical Publications and Records (NHPRC) implementation grant.
At 11 a.m. on July 14, Keweenaw National Historic Park Archivist Jeremiah Mason will address digital preservation and the importance of community archiving.
From 1-4 p.m. on July 14 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 15, UPLINK invites local community members to digitize their family materials. Event staff will also be available to digitally record community members' stories and memories of life in the western Upper Peninsula. Project staff will encourage participants to donate their digital items for inclusion in UPLINK.
The event will include two mobile digitization units and two oral history recording booths. It is made possible with a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council (MHC).
“Numerous small heritage organizations, families and individuals in Michigan's Upper Peninsula maintain primary source material that, taken together, offer important documentation of the region's historical development,” said Marcus Robyns of the Central U.P. and Northern Michigan University Archives, which is serving as the principal UPLINK service hub among three in the region. “Unfortunately, these collections languish from disuse due to lack of access and deficient availability of resources, and frequently are in jeopardy due to poor storage conditions.
“For the most part, volunteers in heritage organizations with no archival training manage historical collections on shoestring budgets. Their commitment of time and energy, however, is a testament to their recognition of the historical value of their collections. Similarly, individuals and families take great pride in their local heritage, and their ancestors' historical contributions to their communities. As a result, UPLINK hopes that many will choose to donate the material to a professional institution for a digitization project that would preserve and provide online access to the digital material.”
For more information, visit UPLINK at nmu.edu/archives/uplink.