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South Shore Foundation Funds Digital Local History Project with ASU-MH
February 1998

The South Shore Foundation board of trustees recently approved funding for a computer-based library to preserve local history -  not only historic records, but also images and even sounds. Termed the South Shore Memory Project, it would be one of the few digital libraries of local history in the nation. It would be second only to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., in its ability to provide recorded sounds of the area and its people, according to director Allen C. Benson of Mountain Home.

Anyone in the world would have access to the archive-quality records of the local are once the records are digitized and placed on the Internet.

The memory project was proposed by Arkansas State University-Mountain Home for funding by the South Shore Foundation whose goals are to use telecommunications equipment to help in the communities of the South Shore area. The South Shore Memory Project is to start next month and take a year and one-half to complete. Project Director Allen Benson is director of library services at ASU MH.

Benson said the South Shore Memory Project would be a pilot program using leading edge technology. "It has the potential to serve as a model for hundreds of archives, museums, and university special collections in the future."

The South Shore Memory Project will be based at the Flippin High School where Petra E. Pershall and Dianne Wade are active participants in the project. They will work closely with faculty and students as the project progresses. South Shore Foundation will provide Flippin High School Library Media Center with equipment to create a barrier-free, inter-networked microcomputer facility and the fireproof cabinet for storing archived records which will be housed in a centralized electronic storage facility at ASU MH.

The public will have access to the Internet-based local history project at either library. Homes, offices, or other schools anywhere with Internet service will be able to access the information contained in the South Shore Memory Project.

Benson said the project would create a historical archive that South Shore citizens can come home to electronically regardless of where they are now living or will live in the future. "We want to make this a prized resource for others to visit that want to explore the history of the South Shore area."

The South Shore Foundation is pleased to be able to apply its principles of using telecommunications equipment to assist area communities. It is the largest project to date the Foundation has approved, totally more than $24,000.

"This is the type of project we in the South Shore Foundation had hoped to contribute to," said Steven G. Sanders, president of the foundation. He added that few residents are aware that the South Shore's telecommunications system is among the most modern in the nation, and that we can support a project of this nature right now. We are pleased that ASU-Mountain Home has the interest and is making the commitment to create this model project for our people."

Sanders continued, "As Mr. Benson said, this project will preserve precious records in digital form so the pages won't deteriorate, the photographs won't fade, and best of all, voices of South Shore people will be able to be preserved, whether singing a folk song or telling an oral history."

The timetable for the project includes listing historical resources and outlining the structure of the digital library as well as selecting an exhibit to digitize and display on the Internet by March 1999. The access site will be set up in the fall of '99, and final onsite demonstration is to be ready by the spring of 2000.

The South Shore Foundation, formed in 1996, is the charitable foundation of the Northern Arkansas Telephone Company, a family-owned, independent telephone company serving the communities along the south shore of Bull Shoals Lake in north central Arkansas.

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South Shore • 301 East Main Street • P.O. Box 209 • Flippin, AR 72634
Phone: (870) 453-8800 • Toll Free: 1-800-775-6682

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