The Catalyst Fund Project submitted by University of Nebraska at Omaha, “Mobile Digitization for Rural Community Archives,” was selected by the Leaders Circle as one of the chosen recipients for funding in the amount of $5,550. The University of Nebraska at Omaha was founded in 1908 and is currently home to 15,000 students. The University Libraries are the only set of comprehensive research libraries in Nebraska with more than 3.5 million volumes within its collections. This project wishes to add to its collection by capturing the community’s rich history of Native American cultures and tribal histories. The Omaha community is represented with Arapaho, Cheyenne, Kansa, Sioux, Missouria, Omaha, Otoe, Pawnee, Ponca, Sac and Fox, and Winnebago tribes.
The purpose of this project is to outreach and capture these histories by digitizing items and make them available to the community. They plan to do this by building a mobile digitization lab. The project is led by Dr. Jason Heppler, Digital Engagement Librarian. He and his team are in the planning stages and have begun outreach to the community through faculty and student groups on campus. Gaining trust with these communities may be the biggest challenge facing the team, but they are working with the community and those with long standing relationships and partnerships with these tribal communities to explain the project, process, and outcomes. Along with the University of Nebraska at Omaha, we are excited about this project and how it can be used as a model for more outreach in all communities as we try to preserve the history and legacies of our communities and share this history with the world.