Going Digital

November 24, 2008
Imagine finding a collection of letters in your family's belongings and learning they were written by a soldier during the Civil War. Or holding a collection of gospel recordings, forgotten by time in a changing music industry, but rich and meaningful in their words of faith. The preservation of rare and historic materials like these became a little easier, thanks to the Riley family.
The Ray I. Riley Digitization Center and the Dottie S. Riley Conference Room were dedicated by the Baylor University Libraries on Oct. 3. Located on the Garden Level of Moody Memorial Library, the Ray I. Riley Digitization Center includes newly renovated work space and offices for staff who digitize and preserve rare manuscripts, books, maps and audio recordings. With the print and audio digitization functions of Baylor's Electronic Library now in one location, the process will be much more efficient and centrally located for the University's digital preservation efforts.
"Digitizing collections allows the Libraries not only to preserve rare materials but also to make them more portable and useful for researchers across the globe," said Tim Logan, director of the Electronic Library at Baylor.
The Dottie S. Riley Conference Room is located adjacent to the Digitization Center and provides teleconferencing facilities within Moody Memorial Library to allow Baylor faculty and staff to interface readily with colleagues worldwide. The facility also will be available for conferences and meetings throughout the day and during scheduled hours at night.
The same date also saw the rededication of space on the third floor of Moody Memorial Library in honor of the Riley family. The Riley Reading and Digital Presentation Room will serve as a venue for scholarly research of rare and unique materials and provide digital presentation space for small groups, Logan said.
Pattie Orr, dean of libraries and vice president for information technology, has looked forward to the completion of this first phase of planned renovations to the libraries.
"Baylor University is excited about the opportunities provided by these new facilities for continued digital preservation, and we look forward to how it will impact both the lives of our students and faculty as well as researchers around the world," Orr said.
Baylor currently has digitization projects that involve music (Black Gospel Music Restoration Project and Frances G. Spencer Collection of American Sheet Music), books (The Journal of William Surtees Cook), letters (Doug Guthrie Collection of Civil War Letters) and maps. The Digital Projects Unit of the Electronic Library is responsible for digitizing, cataloging and digitally preserving the rare and fragile materials to limit handling, while providing greater access to the materials online.
The Riley family has supported other ventures at Baylor University and provided the funds to renovate a substantial area on the Garden Level of Moody Memorial Library to make room for the center.
"Baylor University is grateful to the Riley family for their dedication to our students," Orr said.
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