PCC is in its third year of a program that provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to digitally preserve historic materials.
Digitalization Skills for Libraries and Cultural Institutions is an occupational skills certificate program that comprises four courses that prepare students to work in digital repositories for cultural heritage institutions such as museums, libraries and archives.
The class meets each Tuesday night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters. Linda Stewart is a librarian on campus as well the instructor of the course itself.
“We believe it’s important that students understand all facets of a digitization program. Our students learn how to develop and execute a project plan,” said Stewart.
The course is available to any students that have taken BIT 25, Survey of Computer Technology in Business.
Afterwards they are eligible to take an Introduction to Technologies for Digital Collections in the fall, followed by Introduction to Metadata for Digital Objects.
Metadata is data that describes and gives information about other data, making it easier to locate.
Students are then allowed to take a course on copyright laws while interning at a cultural institution.
“During the summer the students take on online copyright class and they complete a 60-hour internship at a local cultural heritage organization,” said Stewart. “All four classes, including the internship for which there is also a nine-hour classroom component are required in order to earn the certificate.”
PCC is part of the Pasadena Digital History Collaboration and Stewart serves as an administrative Chair.
Stewart says that one of the strategies we use in the cultural heritage community is to collaborate as much as possible.
Stewart describes her work as both exciting and rewarding.
“Recently we came upon a series of snapshots that were taken in 1944 of a geology class trip to the Mojave Desert,” she said. “The photographs had been taken by a student who was evacuated from Japan by the State Department in 1940. She had included in with the packet of photographs a note describing her early days in Pasadena …”
Librarian and Associate professor Krista Goguen coordinates the library credit courses. She stressed the importance in preserving historical items and making them more easily available.
“It’s more than just preserving history, it’s also giving access to it,” she said.
She says that the students in the program gain experience by digitizing items from their own lives. Students can make their own collection through old family photos, or collections of things that they have acquired.
“This sort of project allows them to see the process from beginning to end and come away with something meaningful to them. They’re mostly working with their own materials,” she said.
The PDHC is having a public scanning event on Saturday May 2 called Capture the Memories. The event will be held at the Pasadena Public Library and it encourages members of the community to bring in family photos of Pasadena.
Students from the program will be on hand to scan photos and some of them can be added to a digital database.
Goguen encourages anyone interested in the program that may have questions to contact her.