PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Jan. 31, 2019) – The Rhode Island Historical Society announced that it has received a $7,000 grant from the Heritage Harbor Foundation to launch the implementation of a Trusted Digital Repository (TDR), which is both a software and a service providing reliable, long-term access to managed digital resources for an organization’s community.
Digital resources include digital images of paper collections (books, manuscripts, prints, broadsides), of museum artifacts (paintings, furniture, porcelain), digital files of moving picture film, photographs, audio recordings, and other recorded media, as well as born-digital material.
“In order for the RIHS to keep pace with the demands made upon 21st-century museums and archives organizations, a TDR is a necessary preservation storehouse for all of our digital assets,” said Richard J. Ring, Deputy Executive Director for Collections & Interpretation at the RIHS. “We are grateful to the Heritage Harbor Foundation for giving us the funding to jumpstart the process.”
The first batch of digital material the RIHS plans to place in the TDR will include recently digitized film footage of the 1968 Black Student Walkout at Brown University, as well as other Civil Rights-related footage the organization has digitized for a National Park Service grant awarded last year to the RIHS, the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society, and the Rhode Island Historic Preservation & Heritage Commission. Digital photos of many other museum objects will also be uploaded – images of furniture, silver, toys and dolls, musical instruments, weapons, clocks, china, and more selected from the RIHS’s 25,000-plus museum objects.
A TDR also positions RIHS to apply more effectively for large digitization grants.
“We need to be able to get our inaccessible image collections scanned,” Ring said, “like the 19th-century glass plate negatives from the Providence Department of Public Works, or the newly acquired negatives taken at the Narragansett Race Track.”
The grant will allow the RIHS to participate in national and international systems of digital repositories, as well as “discovery” networks like the Digital Public Library of America. These systems are responsible for long-term access to the world’s social, cultural, and intellectual heritage in digital form.