Home » Session Highlight: CLIR/HBCU Library Alliance Partner Sessions Return to the DLF Forum

Session Highlight: CLIR/HBCU Library Alliance Partner Sessions Return to the DLF Forum

As we mentioned in our What We’ve Learned post, we’re excited to welcome back the CLIR/HBCU Library Alliance partner sessions to the DLF Forum this year. These sessions are part of the CLIR and HBCU Library Alliance long-term partnership that aims to position historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as centers of scholarly distinction with unparalleled special collections that illuminate clearly the value, significance, and contributions of HBCUs. 

Selected by the HBCU Library Alliance, these combo sessions provide a chance for staff who work in and with HBCUs to share news about ongoing digital library and archives work, initiatives, and programs. The two sessions are grouped by theme: Urban Renewal and Digital Partnerships: Advancing Community Connections and Engagement for Achievement: Digitization, Library Operations, and Student Success. Each session will feature three presentations. 

Take a look at the session abstracts, and don’t forget to register for the DLF Forum! Seats are limited for this pay-what-you-can virtual event; registration is open through October 25 or until we sell out. 

November 1, 2:30pm ET

Urban Renewal and Digital Partnerships: Advancing Community Connections

Speak To Me: Reclamation of Black Communities
Monika Rhue, Johnson C. Smith University

The presentation will share how Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) creates a learning experience using art, sound, and visual to share the history of Charlotte, NC’s only surviving post-bellum, streetcar black community, Biddleville. Biddleville is just minutes from uptown Charlotte, NC, which is one of the fastest growing cities across the nation. Although Biddleville was not totally destroyed by urban renewal during the 1960’s and 1970’s, the longtime residents in this community are witnessing gentrification while more and more first-hand white and wealthier residents relocated to this community in recent years. The negative stigma of gentrification is still a part of the memories of many black Charlotteans whose families were displaced when Brooklyn was destroyed. JCSU has taken an active role in preserving and sharing the legacy of Biddleville, giving voices to longtime residents and providing a historical perspective to new and incoming residents. The presentation will share how JCSU engaged the community in collecting oral histories, artifacts and creating the RCLM37 exhibit. Using the lens of Afrofuturism, the RCLM37 exhibit takes the concept of the everyday Biddleville experiences and recreates them to provide tangible access to this community’s history through reshaping the lens of today and projecting a strong future. Tips will be shared on how this project became a springboard for conversations about urban renewal and the cultural heritage and legacy of Charlotte’s black communities.

Sustaining the HBCU Library Alliance Digital Collections through Distributed Digitization and Preservation
Cliff Landis, Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library and Nina Ishokir, Clinton College

The HBCU Library Alliance has been actively engaged in providing online access and digital preservation for significant historical content from its member institutions since the mid 2000’s. Highlighting the unique history of these institutions worldwide is important to scholarship and provides an authentic view of the role of the HBCU in African Americans higher education. The Digital Collection Celebrating the Founding of the Historically Black College and University was launched in the mid-2000s in partnership with Cornell University and LYRASIS and features documents, publications and photographs from 23 institutions. To address the long term preservation needs of the digital collection, the HBCU LA joined the MetaArchive Cooperative as a collaborative member in 2010. In 2021, a new partnership was formed between HBCU Library Alliance member institutions Clinton College and the AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library to create a distributed digitization workflow to expand the digital collections and provide digital preservation through the MetaArchive Cooperative. This presentation will provide an overview and update on digital initiatives undertaken by the HBCU Library Alliance. Participants will learn how the HBCU Library Alliance member institutions are partnering to create distributed digitization workflows. In addition, participants will learn about the MetaArchive Cooperative’s ingest process, the technical infrastructure and recent changes to membership categories.

Digital Humanities for Small Audiences: Designing digital humanities projects with and for communities
Ashley Champagne, Brown University

Community partnerships drive many of the digital humanities projects at the Center for Digital Scholarship at the Brown University Library. This talk will highlight one such project, Stolen Relations: Recovering Stories of Indigenous Enslavement in the Americas, a community-centered database project led by Professor Linford Fisher that seeks to illuminate and understand the role the enslavement of Indigenous peoples played in settler colonialism over time. The Brown University Library team lead the technical aspects of the project, which include creating the database that holds the archival documents that list instances of enslaved indigenous people. Our team has worked to regularly make technical decisions with input from our Native partners. This work has required us to think through the following questions: 1) Because much of the work we do is technical, how can we make sure to present this technical work and the questions that it raises in a welcoming way that encourages dialogue? 2) How do we both listen to our partners, and take action on their advice, while also making sure the project scope does not stretch to the point that we cannot deliver on what we have promised? This talk will invite discussion and offer recommendations on how to incorporate community outreach and engagement in digital humanities work particularly when much of the work is technical.

Tuesday, November 2, 11am ET

Engagement for Achievement: Digitization, Library Operations, and Student Success

Building a Sustainable Digital Portal to Rosenwald: Lessons and takeaways from one year of planning
DeLisa Minor Harris and Danni Wynans, Fisk University

Since our presentation at the DLF Forum in November 2020, the Mellon-Rosenwald staff at Fisk University’s Franklin Library have digitized almost 15,000 images, collected metadata for the digitized material, and investigated how to develop a sustainable and accessible new database for the Rosenwald Fund material. As our planning grant comes to an end, we reflect on what we’ve accomplished and what we still need to achieve as we move into an implementation phase. Our presentation will include a frank discussion of the lessons we learned through this process, emphasizing how we intend to implement what we’ve learned regarding long-term sustainability and technical infrastructure planning as we build the new database in the next phase of our project. Additionally, we will discuss some of the Content Management and Digital Asset Management systems included in our investigation and what we have determined as the best options for projects without guaranteed long-term funding. Finally, we will look forward and discuss what comes next for the Franklin Library’s Center for Digitization.

The Textbook Transformation Grants Sub-Awards: Textbook Savings for Students at HBCUs
Ruth A. Hodges, South Carolina State University

Empirical evidence demonstrates that Open Educational Resources (OER) address affordability and attainment gaps by improving student outcomes, particularly among Pell Grant recipients and populations historically underserved in higher education. Such populations will benefit from the use of OER to lower their cost of attendance. In the U.S. academic libraries have been at the forefront of the affordable textbook movement. This movement has been advanced in librarianship through professional development opportunities. However, HBCU librarians have had limited resources to support their professional development. This presentation provides results from a two-year funded project on OER involving librarians and faculty cohorts at HBCUs participating in the Textbook Transformation Grant (TBTG) component of this professional development related project. During the TBTG, academic librarian and faculty teams collaborated to redesign a course to replace a commercial textbook with no-cost or low-cost materials. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to assess project activities. The audience will be introduced to:

  • the benefits and barriers to the utilization of no-cost or low-cost course materials at the participating HBCUs.
  • the best practices to become advocates of OER on respective campuses.
  • lessons learned related to this OER project.