May 9, 2021

Digitization Projects: ProQuest Announces Plans to Digitize NAACP Archives

From a Company Announcement:

ProQuest and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) are teaming to digitize the association’s archives, bringing one of the most famous records of the civil rights movement to the online world.

The collection — nearly 2 million pages of internal memos, legal briefings and direct action summaries from national, legal and branch offices throughout the country — charts NAACP’s work and delivers a first-hand view into crucial issues: lynching, school desegregation, and discrimination in the military, the criminal justice system, employment, and housing, among others. [Our emphasis] Preserved on microfilm, it holds the distinction of being the most heavily used collection in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. Now, it will be fully searchable and accessible electronically and available through academic, research and public library websites as part of ProQuest History Vault, an initiative to digitize historically rich primary sources, opening their discovery to broader audiences.

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With a timeline that runs from 1909 to 1972, users can examine the realities of segregation in the early 20th century, chart victories such as the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, then explore the late 1960s and 1970s as the Black Power Movement, urban riots, and the Vietnam War provided challenges for the NAACP. Legal files in the collection chart the organization’s spectacular legal successes from the 1910s through the 1954 landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision and into the early 1970s.

As part of the ProQuest History Vault, the NAACP archives will be available for remote study and supported by rich, intuitive search technology. Their original archival arrangement schemes will be preserved and PDFs of the original documents will replicate the user experience of browsing through archive boxes.

Digitization of the records is part of a larger partnership to preserve NAACP’s historical archives. ProQuest will be working with individual NAACP offices throughout America to implement best practices for selecting cataloging, storing and handling of original documents.

Additional Details via the Complete News Release

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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