Colleges and universities are constantly looking for ways to stay connected with alumni and keep them engaged in their alma mater in hopes of boosting enrollment and maximizing donations. Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C., has found a fairly inexpensive way to engage with its former students—by putting nearly all of its printed archives online.
Not all that long ago, digitizing college archives such as school newspapers and yearbooks was prohibitively expensive for most colleges and universities.
But prices have come down significantly in recent years, and now even school libraries with the most limited budgets can afford the process, said Ted Waller, head of archives at Meredith College, the largest private women’s college in the Southeast.
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The school had been slowly digitizing its print archives for several years, first working on its alumnae magazine and student newspapers, using library funds as they became available.
But last year, Meredith’s regional library co-op, Lyrasis, received a grant from the Sloan Foundation for mass digitization of its members’ archives, and the school was able to put more than 100 years of old and fragile documents online—including school yearbooks, catalogs, student handbooks, monographs on Meredith history, newspapers, and magazines.