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University Libraries Digital Collections Hosts Digi Day

Tue, 07/01/2014 - 11:13am | By: Dawn Smith

Ten students from the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at The University of Southern Mississippi recently participated in Digi Day, an opportunity for students in SLIS to obtain service hours and digitization experience while assisting the digital lab with existing projects. Elizabeth La Beaud, manager of the University Libraries' digital lab, and Emilie Aplin, president of the Library and Information Science Student Association (LISSA), organized the event.

The students were divided into two groups, five in the morning session and five in the afternoon session, and received one hour of training and three hours of scan time. At the end of the day, 203 pages from the H. A. and Margret Rey papers, which are part of the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection, were digitized.

The Reys, known for their creation of Curious George, are among the earliest contributors to the de Grummond Collection. The Rey papers are historic and valuable pieces of the University Libraries' Special Collections, and their use in this project covered interests in both archival and special collections material, as well as children's literature.

Faculty from SLIS were asked to recommend students to participate in Digi Day, and students volunteered based on their interests in digital and archival collections. Dr. Matthew Griffis, faculty advisor for LISSA, assisted with the event.

“It was gratifying to see students so enthusiastic and eager to learn about the digital aspects of archival science,” Griffis said. “It was also exciting for me, as a faculty observer and participant, to work with documents of such historical and literary importance. I look forward to more Digi Days.”

The idea for Digi Day arose from discussions regarding the students' need for service hours, and the ongoing digitization projects in the digital collections. According to La Beaud, “To my knowledge, Southern Miss is the first institution to organize an event of this kind. Others have expressed interest in student digitization projects of their own, and we now have a successful framework that we will be able to share with these institutions.” La Beaud is expected to present the Digi Day concept at several upcoming conferences.

The Digital Collections is part the University Libraries' Special Collections and is located in McCain Library. The purpose of the digital lab is to digitize physical materials housed in McCain Library and Archives in order to increase access to and preserve scholarly content. For more information about Special Collections, visit