The LSU Libraries Special Collections division began digitization efforts in 1991. Efforts are both project-driven and programmatic. Special Collections seeks to serve the research and teaching needs of faculty, the research and learning needs of students, and the research needs of the larger user community, which ranges from genealogists and novelists through historians, economists, and environmentalists. Internationally, historians of the American South and the international Francophone community are major constituencies.
Our collection development policies for materials in traditional formats strongly influence both our projects and our programmatic digitization efforts. Our goal is to grow digital collections that will enhance access to our artifactual collections and extend their utility by offering new tools for discovery and use.
We also emphasize collaboration with faculty and students, encouraging their participation in creating resources and tools that will be of immediate as well as long-term use. Students, in particular, benefit from the hands-on experience with digitization, which will serve them well regardless of their future career plans.
- To create digital assets that complement, extend, preserve (through reduced handling), and enhance our traditional collections, which have served scholars for more than five decades;
- By doing so, to better serve faculty, student, and other researchers' needs;
- To make Special Collections a lively and productive arena in which students and faculty are engaged in our collaborative educational endeavor to the mutual benefit of all.
Important functional goals include:
- Working with ITS to establish institutional policies for the long-term organization, maintenance, and accessibility of our digital assets;
- Participating in university-wide and state-wide digital initiatives, including consultation with the LOUISiana Digital Library to update and improve its user interface on an ongoing basis; and
- Continuing aggressive efforts to provide staff and equipment for digitization efforts through grants, donations, and additional institutional funding.
The Libraries' digital collections are presented in CONTENTdm software through the Louisiana Digital Library, a statewide repository of digital collections hosted by LOUIS: The Louisiana Library Network. LSU is the largest contributor to the Louisiana Digital Library, with more than 30 collections.