Preserving North Dakota’s heritage

The Minot Public Library is excited to be partnering with the North Dakota State Library to host ScanDay on Thursday, Sept. 12 for the purpose of digitizing family history materials brought in by the public. The Minot Public Library will host the session from 2 – 6 p.m. in the lower level of the library. Members of the public are invited to bring in a wide range of items, including photographs, letters, diaries, scrapbooks and other artifacts related to family and community history.

According to Trevor Martinson, co-digital initiatives coordinator with the ND State Library, “ScanDay is an event in which Digital Initiatives staff from the state library bring scanning and photography equipment to a community and digitize historical photographs, documents, and objects, which will later be displayed online as part of the North Dakota Memories collection on Digital Horizons.

“Digital Horizons is an online digital library consisting of thousands of images, documents, videos and oral histories depicting life on the Northern Plains,” he continued. “Digital Horizons provides a fascinating snapshot of the lives, culture, and history of the people who shaped life on the prairies.” This collection can be found online at www.digitalhorizonsonline.org

Interested participants will reserve a 30-minute time slot by calling or stopping by the Minot Public Library. Each participant may bring 10-15 items. During the time slots, ScanDay staff will work with participants to digitize the items and record the descriptive information. The original items are then returned to the participants. If a local museum or historical society is interested in signing up as a participant, they can bring 20-30 items and are allowed to sign up for two 30-minute time slots (one right after the other). Flash drives with digital copies of the items are given to each participant.

The state library will also retain digital copies which will be added to its collections. Items of all shapes and sizes are encouraged, but it is preferred that items have a North Dakota connection. Items can include photographs, letters, certificates, journals, artwork, artifacts, memorabilia, scrapbooks, etc. “As a general rule, do not bring anything to ScanDay that you would not be comfortable having displayed online,” Martinson said.

Martinson encourages people to sign up for the ScanDay event. “This is the perfect opportunity to dig out old letters and photographs that people might not have looked at for years,” he said. “It’s always fascinating to see the treasures that people have stored away. Family members themselves have often forgotten the details of what they have.” Martinson noted that digitizing family history items not only preserves them as electronic images, but also makes it easy to share those images with multiple family members.

In addition to the ScanDay event on the 12th, MPL welcomes the community to make use of the wide variety of genealogical resources available. At the Minot Public Library, patrons can access family trees and more by using the library’s online subscription to Ancestry. The library edition of Ancestry provides users access to more than 1.2 billion names as well as thousands of databases, photos and primary source documents. This library edition of Ancestry is available in the library only, but MPL also has a list of free online genealogical resources on the website under the heading “internet links.” MPL patrons who’d like more information on how to use these online resources can set up a one-on-one Tech Tutor appointment with a librarian who can walk users through the process.

Finally, everyone is invited to stop in the Great Plains Room anytime. The Great Plains room is full of local history books including Plat Books, family histories, Centennial Celebration books, yearbooks, telephone directories and much more. Items in the Great Plains Room are not available to be checked out, but hundreds of other titles can be checked out on the topic of genealogy. For more information on any of these resources or to sign up for a ScanDay slot, please call 852-1045 or visit www.minotlibrary.org.