Digital Forsyth: Through a Social Entrepreneurial Lens


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Digital Forsyth (DF) was a collaborative effort among 4 institutions to create an online collection of digital photos pertaining to Forsyth County (NC) history. Digital Forsyth was a 3 year project that digitized over 12,000 photographs and made them freely available to the world using an innovative WordPress interface that invites user participation through comments. It includes lesson plans for teachers and themed essays.

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Digital Forsyth: Through a Social Entrepreneurial Lens

  1. 1. Digital ForsythThrough a Social Entrepreneurial Lens Forsyth County Public Library C. G. O’Kelly Library, Winston Salem State University Old Salem Museum and Gardens Z. Smith Reynolds Library/Coy C. Carpenter Library, Wake Forest University Susan Sharpless Smith Digitizing our Cultural History LLAMA Webinar September 19, 2012
  2. 2. Project’s Genesis• A 2004 brainstorming meeting among 3 Forsyth County Libraries – A desire to identify collaborative projects to • Improve services to the community • Increase opportunities for ongoing interlibrary interaction – Outcome: Everyone had historic photo collections and they were high demand items by our users
  3. 3. Project Framework • Funded through LSTA Grants (NCEcho) – 2005 Planning Grant – 2006-2009 Multiyear Collaborative Grant • Planning Grant formed framework that was used for the digitization grant
  4. 4. Project Mission Through digitization, Digital Forsyth, a collaboration of cultural heritage institutions in Forsyth County, North Carolina, facilitates access to cultural, historical and scientific heritage photograph collections, thereby increasing interest in and knowledge of the past and informing future generations.Project Vision Users will turn to Digital Forsyth as the definitive online repository of cultural heritage resources held by Forsyth County institutions.
  5. 5. Project Processes• Decentralized production• Centralized grant administration• Cross institution collaborative workgroups• Major process goal: Rich user experience – Infrastructure vs. public interface – Creating rich data – Leveraging educational value
  6. 6. Infrastructure: DSpace
  7. 7. Public Interface: WordPress
  8. 8. Rich Data
  9. 9. Educational Value Teacher workshop to create lesson plans
  10. 10. User Experience Meeting project goals through a rich public interface • Telling stories • Community photo sharing • User commenting
  11. 11. Telling Stories
  12. 12. Photo Sharing
  13. 13. User Commenting
  14. 14. Who Uses Digital Forsyth?
  15. 15. Outreach Grant:Preserving Forsyth’s Past
  16. 16. Contact Information Susan Sharpless Smith Associate Dean Z. Smith Reynolds Library Wake Forest University