May 22, 2022

Harvard’s Houghton Library is Pausing All Digital Projects During 2020‒21 Academic Year to Focus Solely on Building a Digital Collection Related to Black American History

From The Harvard Gazette:

As technology has evolved over the last 10 years, Houghton Library has digitized many of its rare treasures and made them freely available online. But while users can find Emily Dickinson’s poetry or Theodore Roosevelt’s family photographs on the library website, letters from Frederick Douglass or Sojourner Truth still require a trip to the Houghton Reading Room and a request to view the originals.

This year, that will change.

For the 2020‒21 academic year, Houghton will pause all digital projects to focus solely on building a digital collection related to Black American history. Digital Collections Program Manager Dorothy Berry will lead a team in digitizing and making discoverable thousands of materials for the online collection, called “Slavery, Abolition, Emancipation, and Freedom: Primary Sources from Houghton Library.”


Berry noted that the project does not encompass everything Houghton holds related to African American history or Black people. She wanted to start with materials that would lend themselves to a digital collection with a common theme. Though she doesn’t anticipate completing digitization of these materials in one year, Berry does expect to make meaningful progress.


Berry’s background is in this work; she came to Harvard from the University of Minnesota, where she was responsible specifically for the digitization of African American materials held in its collections.

Learn More, Read the Complete Article, View Images (approx. 1040 words)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.