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Friday, February 08, 2008

On the OA archive of Va. Tech shooting documents

With Archive, Virginia Tech Librarians Document Aftermath of Tragic Shootings, Library Journal Academic Newswire, February 7, 2008.
Virginia Tech librarians are working to archive artifacts documenting the outpouring of grief and support in the aftermath of the tragic April, 16, 2007, shootings that left 32 people on campus dead. Working with consultants from the Library of Congress, librarians and university staff have collected over 87,000 items expressing condolence, including 33,000 paper cranes received in one lot, said Tamara Kennelly, a university archivist and librarian who is leading the project. ...

Amid grief and raw emotion, librarians began working to establish the archive within days of the shootings. A team of consultants from LC came to campus, Kennelly noted, and librarians and staff began to coordinate the preservation of artifacts, both analog and digital, of the various efforts made to cope with the shocking events. "We wanted to ensure that all of us were working together," Kennelly explained, citing the university's Center for Digital Discourse and Cultures' April 16 Archive and the "DLVT416: A Digital Library Test Bed for Research Related to 4/16/2007 at Virginia Tech" as just "two of the efforts concerned with the long-term preservation of the materials."

In addition, Virginia Tech librarians consulted with their peers at other universities who developed archives after tragic events including Syracuse University, after Pan Am 103 was destroyed by terrorists over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, and Texas A&M University, where 12 students were killed and 27 injured during the construction of a bonfire.

The archive, officials say, will provide "primary source materials on the grieving and consolation process after a major tragedy." Items selected for the permanent collection will be organized, preserved, and housed in a climate-controlled environment, Kennelly noted. They will also be described in a finding aid that will be made available through the University Libraries' Special Collections website and the Virginia Heritage Project. Once the collection has been processed, the physical collection will be available through the Special Collections Reading Room on the first floor of Newman Library. In addition to the permanent collection, Kennelly said, librarians are also planning a traveling collection. ...
Comment. Peter blogged about the archive upon its launch.