Greater Cleveland History Digital Library ConsortiumThe Greater Cleveland History Digital Library Consortium was formed 2004 to coordinate the local history digitization efforts of its members, to investigate new technologies and standards, to educate its members in best practices and to investigate and conduct collaborative projects. It grew out of an informal meeting between representatives from the libraries at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland State University, who were coordinating their individual e-book projects (CSU, CWRU). That meeting showed enough benefit that they decided to invite more of their colleagues to a larger meeting, including recently hired catalogers at both libraries.
Since CWRU and the Cleveland Public Library had done an earlier e-book project together, and CPL and CSU had done a joint Cultural Gardens of Cleveland site more recently, CPL was invited to join, as well. Before the organizational meeting could be held, the invitation list had grown to include the Western Reserve Historical Society, the Cuyahoga County Public Library, the Cuyahoga Community College, the Shaker Heights Public Library, and historians from some of these institutions. In all, two dozen people came together from these organizations.
The organizational meeting was held in Special Collections, at the Kelvin Smith Library at Case, on July 28th. There the attendees introduced themselves, reported on projects they were undertaking, or wished to, and discussed how forming a consortium could benefit their endeavors and the public generally. They decided to create two committees: a Content Committee, to inventory the existing digital and paper-based historical collections that should be brought together on the Web, and a Technical Committee, to determine how best to catalog, present and provide access to such materials. These goals were incorporated into an LSTA mini-grant proposal in a subsequent meeting and over the balance of 2004, those committees have been preparing to further these goals of the consortium’s.
Since the organizational meeting, other organizational representatives have joined the consortium. The Bay Village High School librarian saw the benefit of providing historical information to her social studies teachers and her school media library colleagues in the K-12 world, as did social studies professors from Tri-C, Lakeland C.C. and the Intercollegiate Social Studies Association. Other public libraries, such as East Cleveland’s have joined, as has the Tremont neighborhood association, in order to help make historical information about local communities and neighborhoods a part of this consortium’s programs. By the time the second meeting of the full consortium took place on January 27th, at CSU, these new members were on-board and the two standing committees had each formed three subcommittees to further their work. Four representatives from OCLC come up from Columbus to participate and added a valuable state-wide perspective to the deliberations.
At this writing, the membership of the GCHDL Consortium stands at three dozen, the committees’ agendas are set out for them and we await word on the LSTA mini-grant application, although work will go on regardless. This is an open process and other libraries, historical societies, professional organizations, neighborhood groups and individual historians are welcome to join us by writing to me, as Chair.