Documenting and Digitizing the Student Experience: A Collaboration Between Iowa State University's Carver Academy and the University Archives

Date
2011-10-21
Authors
Zanish-Belcher, Tanya
Leigh, Patricia
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Special Collections and University Archives
Abstract

This presentation will focus on a collaborative documentary project, which is an effort to document minority undergraduate students and their college experience at Iowa State University. The purpose is two-fold: first to better connect these students with their own individual college experience, and to also provide historical documentation for students of color at Iowa State University, which in the past, has been difficult to create or collect. One of the most difficult aspects of university life to create and/or collect documentation, is without a doubt, for the student experience. John Straw observes that “A significant part of the education process never gets into print or recorded anywhere but in the student’s memory.”[1] In regards to recordkeeping practices, university offices, administrators, and faculty are much more consistent in retaining and transferring materials as part of the university’s records retention schedule. In addition, there are even fewer traditional papers or records documenting students of color at predominantly white institutions, such as Iowa State University. However, what little may exist or be created, is increasingly digital and electronic. This provides additional preservation challenges for the Archives.

[1] John Straw, From Classroom to Commons: Documenting the Total Student Experience in Higher Education,” Archival Issues (Vol. 19, No. 1, 1994), p. 24.

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