Special Collections Librarian Louis Knecht and library technicians assist Erin Sullivan in scanning her photos for digitization. | Photo by Michael Estrada

HSU Library Hosts Digitization Day

Humboldt State Special Collections offers the opportunity for community members to preserve their history.
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Humboldt State Special Collections offers the opportunity for community members to preserve their history

On Saturday the HSU library played host to Humboldt History Digitization Day, an event that gave students, staff and community members the opportunity to take photographs and documents and save digital copies for free.

Digital copies are a great way to save backups of personal documents and photos from deterioration. The cost of a photo scanner can get into the hundreds of dollars, and not everyone has an understanding of photoshop and other programs that can be used to crop and edit the digital copies.

During this event, archivers were available to directly assist in the use of the scanner and photoshop courtesy of the libraries Special Collections division.

Special Collections Instruction Librarian Louis Knecht was available to assist the public in digitizing their documents, as well as share some insight on the impact of archiving Humboldt history.

Knecht saw the event as an opportunity to expand peoples’ digital literacy, as well as a way to archive history.

“If you have any kind of family photos, or documents, that aren’t in digital form, digitize them. That’s your family history, you don’t want to lose that, that’s precious stuff.”

Erin Sullivan

“HSU is a center of technology in what is a relatively rural environment that is Humboldt County,” said Knecht.

Erin Sullivan, an English professor at HSU, stopped by with a thick binder of her family history and was excited to start preserving the past. She had four generations of photographs, from Irish immigrants on her father’s side, to the pioneers on her mother’s side that were living on the plains.

“If you have any kind of family photos, or documents, that aren’t in digital form, digitize them,” Sullivan said. “That’s your family history, you don’t want to lose that, that’s precious stuff.”

She wasn’t afraid to learn the process, and was happy to share her appreciation of the assistance she was given.

“I have never used any fancy digital equipment,” said. Sullivan. “I scan things for teaching purposes, but not high quality scanning.”

Humboldt has benefitted from archiving history in the past, such as recording the protests of the Gasquet-Orleans road, whose inception began in the early 60s.

“I think it takes away HSU as just relevant to students, staff and faculty,” said Knecht. “It opens the door to more community engagement.”

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