OWU History at Our Fingertips!

Mellon Grant Inspires Innovation

20130321-TranscriptFor members of the OWU community who wish they could turn back the pages of history with just a click of a mouse, it’s time to celebrate!

With help from the Mellon Next Generation Library Grant (NGL), students, faculty and staff members, and alumni now can access digital copies of The Transcript clear back to 1874. The grant, which was awarded to the Five Colleges of Ohio in 2010, has focused on five areas: a curriculum development program for faculty who partner with librarians to identify, build, and integrate digital collections in their courses; a program to enhance access to the scholarly output of our universities; a professional development program for library staff to enrich their technological sophistication and innovative efforts; a digital infrastructure program enabling us to support new initiatives; and creation of The Five Colleges of Ohio Digital Projects Portal.

“Collectively, we have undertaken more than 45 collaborative projects with faculty, creating digital collections for use in the classroom and sharing valuable content with the larger academic community,” says Cathi Cardwell, OWU director of libraries. The Digital Projects Portal serves as a gateway to the resources and outcomes from the grant, she shares. The Transcript digitation project is one of several such outcomes, and an important one.

“What makes this project so interesting is that in addition to being used by our OWU 50th reunion alumni group and other alumni, faculty and librarians are using it in connection to course projects.” Two of Professor Michael Flamm’s history students who are doing independent research projects focused on Ohio Wesleyan during the 1960s are impressed by the new Transcript feature. Senior Aara Ramesh, a history and economics double major, used the digitized newspaper for her History 493 senior seminar.

“My project centers on what life was like on OWU’s campus in the 1960s and 1970s,” she says. “A few alumni I spoke with said The Transcript was read more in those decades and considered an accurate judge of thought patterns on campus.” Ramesh utilized the newspaper in conjunction with the Ohio Wesleyan Special Collections Archives as primary sources and insights into student life, concerns, and issues during the 60’s and 70’s, she shares.

“As a history buff, I was really interested to read and compare The Transcript of years ago to what it is today and I was gratified to see that Ohio Wesleyan has such [digital] tools available to students,” says Ramesh. For fellow student Billy Reilich ’13, a history major, life at OWU during the Vietnam War years is the topic of his research project.

“I am using The Transcript to give me stories, polls, and images taken on campus during the late 60’s and early 70s,” he says. “This new digitized feature is great, and seeing some of the passion on campus during those years inspires me to want to do more now for the university and the city of Delaware.” Flamm envisions more widespread use of the digitized newspaper, both in his department and beyond.

“I suspect [our course on] Modern American History will make more use of it,” he says, adding that it also might be interesting to see how women in history were portrayed in the 30’s and 40’s.

“This is a great teaching and research tool,” says Flamm. “We now can increase our use of The Transcript as an historical resource.”

Visit The Transcript archives to explore the past and turn back the pages of time.

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