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Contact David Tisdale (601) 266.4499

GULFPORT – University of Southern Mississippi officials believe the school’s newly established Hurricane Katrina Research Center will provide researchers and others with a definitive source for information about the worst natural disaster to hit the United States.

The Katrina Research Center will serve as a repository that collects, preserves and provides both physical and virtual access to documentary evidence related to Hurricane Katrina. Faculty and staff at the university are already working to build a comprehensive archive of research materials in a variety of formats, including photographs, oral histories, architectural records, and storm and recovery video, among others.

A formal announcement of the center’s founding will be made in early 2006.

The Katrina Research Center is actively seeking donations of the aforementioned items and others to house in the center, which will be located in University Libraries.

“There’s a lot of information being produced every day and all the time about the storm and its effects,” said University Librarian Kay Wall, who will serve as the center’s first director. “We would lose a lot of this information if we didn’t make efforts now to capture it.”

Wall said the university’s establishment of the center will help in providing leverage for external research funding, as well as provide a clearinghouse for Katrina-related information.

“The Katrina Research Center offers the university a unique and extraordinary opportunity to both preserve artifacts and narratives associated with the storm and to give research faculty a conduit to share their Hurricane Katrina-related research with a broad audience,” said Dr. David Butler, a Southern Miss assistant professor of economic development who is helping with the development of a business plan for the center.

The Katrina Research Center will also sponsor traveling exhibits and conferences, as well as provide researchers the opportunity to examine documentation that captures the event from a personal standpoint. It will also provide faculty and staff who may be developing research with a vital collection of resources.

The storm’s impact on Mississippi will be the primary focus of the center, although other information about Katrina’s effects on the Gulf South will be available.

Wall said that the university’s library facilities, staff and resources are an appropriate fit for the center. “Documentation and arrangement and access of these kinds of materials, including printed paper as well as digital, is what we do, especially in special collections,” she said.

Those interested in making contributions are asked to also consider donating such items as scientific data; government and planning documents; before-and-after (storm) photos; art; organizational records; literary works; sound recordings; Web site information, including message boards, Weblogs, etc.; journals or diaries; and printed items such as flyers or posters.

For more information, contact University Libraries at Southern Miss at 601.266.4241 or visit

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Last updated: 01/06/06

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