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Seminar to Discuss College Archives


SUNY Cortland’s Memorial Library has made great strides in recent years with its College Archives.

A committee involved with the progress to date and with charting the future of these collections will present a sandwich seminar on Wednesday, March 13.

Students and faculty engaged in academic research, historians, local history buffs and the public are encouraged to attend the event, titled “Preserving History and Creating Access in the College Archives.”

Jeremy Pekarek, College archivist and instructional services librarian, as well as Jennifer Kronenbitter, director of libraries, and committee members will give the presentation.

The event, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Brockway Hall Jacobus Lounge, is free and open to the public.

The College Archives Steering Committee, which worked with Memorial Library, will share information about the physical College Archives, which is located on the third floor in Memorial Library. The College Archives project collects or tracks the majority of materials relating to institutional history of SUNY Cortland. The panel also will present an overview and answer questions about the history of the archives, its purpose, the College’s physical and digital collections, instruction, research, hiring an archivist and preserving SUNY Cortland’s institutional history.

The fast-growing collection already contains hundreds of electronic images including literally thousands of digitized sports photos from the dawn of Cortland athletics, accessible to being viewed or downloaded. 

“Among our top digitized collections include our student newspapers and all of the campus yearbooks,” Pekarek said, referring to some of the more popular archives of interest to the campus community and visiting alumni.

“In conjunction with this year’sSUNY Cortland Sesquicentennial celebration, we have also scanned in materials on previous college anniversaries,” he said. “Additionally the library has strived to collaborate with various faculty to create class projects in the College Archives.”

The College Archives were used to assist with mounting exhibits on campus, including the School of Education’s recent sesquicentennial photo exhibit of the Cortland Normal School’s earliest history and imagery.

One College Archives Committee member, Evan Faulkenberry, assistant professor of history, has used the College Archives more than two years for his Introduction to Public History class.

In the past year, Pekarek was hired as a fulltime archivist and instructional services librarian and a campus-wide Archives Steering Committee began meeting to guide the process, make suggestions and identify and catalog additional records and pictures.

Part of the seminar will be used to explain the library’s fairly new digital archive, named after a commons as a place where people can meet and share information and culture.

SUNY Cortland’s new Digital Commons@Cortland, launched during its sesquicentennial year, puts the College’s institutional history from 150 years ago right up to the present day in reach of anyone on the Internet.

There’s original documents and pictures that bring back to life campus student club and honorary society happenings, sports milestones and Greek life activities as well as key figures, buildings and events of College history.

“The library has created new ways to digitize our collections using Digital Commons@Cortland,” Kronenbitter said.

More than a year later, the Digital Commons project continues to grow as more records are being uploaded.

Memorial Library has paid for most projects to improve the archives, including ones relating to the sesquicentennial. Recently, the library was awarded a South Central Regional Library Council Technology and Digitization Grant for $4,583 to have an outside company scan the majority of a cache of student newspapers into the College Archives, the Co-No Pressfrom 1925 to 1942 and the Dragon Chronicle from 2013 to 2017.

“Come learn more about the College Archives to understand our commitment to creating access as well as preserving precious historical materials relating to SUNY Cortland,” Kronenbitter said.