Campus News - August 20, 2001
Access history through online archive
By Carolyn Gonzales
Online Archive of New Mexico (OANM), a two-year collaborative project designed
to provide electronic access to 400 years of New Mexico historical data, is
now available at http://eLibrary.unm.edu/oanm.
The Online Archive offers scholars, researchers, students and historians
direct access to the inventories of more than 1,000 manuscript and archival
collections on New Mexico history held in the four major repositories in the
state, says Nancy Dennis, director of Library Information Technology
at the UNM General Library (UNMGL).
The National Endowment for the Humanities provided partial funding for OANM.
In addition to the inventories, right now about 400 scanned images
of documents, photographs and drawings are linked from the finding aids and
we are adding more. We can also link to other collections of art and artifacts.
OANM also has audio clips. You can hear Bob King talk about playing in the Pit,
says Dennis, who adds that they plan to use audio to provide access to oral
histories. We also plan to have video available, she says.
Currently, the archival collections available on OANM are held at the Center
for Southwest Research (CSWR) at the University of New Mexico; Rio Grande Historical
Collections at New Mexico State University; New Mexico State Archives and Records
Center in Santa Fe; and the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library
at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe. UNMGL is serving as the lead institution
and has provided both technical and archival personnel to bring the project
to light. Archivists from the four participating institutions have
worked hard to contribute to this important project, says Dennis.
The future looks very bright for adding additional materials from other
institutions such as local historical societies, museums and libraries from
around the state. We are building the systems infrastructure so that smaller
institutions will be able to add their collections remotely without learning
a lot of technical detail, says Dennis, who adds that the UNM General
Library is joining a statewide effort to train personnel from several institutions
to organize, describe and scan their collections to add to OANM.
OANM is an electronic eye focused on original historical documents from around
the state. OANM is a single, integrated source for searching and navigating
finding aids to archival collections. These finding aids, usually
called guides or inventories, describe archives and manuscript collections housed
at research institutions in New Mexico.
OANM, also indexed in Google, will be an ideal resource in K-12 classrooms,
says Dennis. Through this portal, students and teachers will have access
to primary resource materials to learn more about where they live, their ancestors
and the history of New Mexico, she says.
Dennis says that the OANM team led by CSWR Archivist and OANM Program Manager,
Kathlene Ferris and Orlando Albillar, who provided the systems support,
have put technology into action to bring New Mexico history into the digital
The future technological direction is XML, or extensible mark-up language.
It is more efficient, provides more detailed indexing and enhanced display and
is becoming a standard for electronic publishing.
As a person with a technical background, I am impressed with the possibilities OANM provides, but more importantly, the lasting value of the project is discovering these important collections and sharing them with researchers of New Mexico history, says Dennis.
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Albuquerque, New Mexico USA
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