To create a statewide digital collection of cultural heritage resources and a framework to promote the use of digital technologies to broaden and enhance access to New York’s approximately 10,000 local, regional, and state cultural heritage institutions, including those located in colleges, universities, and local governments.As I look at the goal, several words and phrases stand out to me:
- Statewide digital collection -- Although there are many digital collections in New York State, there has not been an effort to connect them together, so that students, teachers, historians, genealogists, and other residents can easily locate cultural materials from across NYS. A statewide digital collection would increase access to all collections, especially those at smaller institutions with limited funding.
- Framework -- The initiative will create a framework for the future. Long term, that framework -- an infrastructure that includes technology, guidelines & standards, people, training and funding -- would aid in the development of new digitization programs.
- Broaden and enhance -- The initiative would broaden and enhance access. Broaden means giving access to more people. Enhance means providing more resources, e.g., lesson plans, to help people use the digital assets.
- 10,000 -- Linking together the assets from 10,000 institutions is not a trivial task. It will take planning and coordination...and time.
- Any New York State resident easily using cultural heritage materials through the Internet that exist in the State’s ~10,000 local, regional, and state cultural heritage institutions, including those located in colleges, universities, and local governments.
- P-16 educators using primary source materials – including audio and video – in their lessons that were previously unavailable.
- Students studying original letters, photographs, manuscripts, and ephemera as they learn about New York State history, without harming the original items.
- Materials gathered and digitized on underrepresented populations of New York State in order to make their history more visible.
- Families able to research their genealogies more effectively because information is more accessible.
- Increased information on community histories, local governments and area demographics that will help to attract businesses to New York State.
- An infrastructure – including people, standards and technology – that supports a statewide digital collection. The infrastructure allows current digital collections to reach broader audiences and provides a path for additional collections to be digitized.
- A collaborative, multi-phase project that provides the type of access to materials desired by both the digital natives and digital immigrants. These residents fill New York State schools and are pivotal to the State’s future.
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