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Grant Enables More Library Files to Go Digital

Swedish American Historical Society

CHICAGO, IL (April 9, 2009) – The general public will be able to easily access online archives of the Swedish-American Historical Quarterly thanks to a $15,000 grant awarded North Park University and the Swedish-American Historical Society to digitize the academic journal, which has been published since 1950.

Anne Jenner, director of the University’s Archives and Special Collections, applied for the grant, which was awarded by The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.  “We were thrilled to get it,” she says.

The Quarterly includes scholarly articles, book reviews, memorials, and news and notes. Articles quickly put a human perspective on the transitions that were made—and continue to be made—by all immigrant communities.

The Swedish-American Historical Society has both current and historic connections to North Park. Its administrative office has been located on campus since the Society’s founding in 1948 and its archival collection, the Swedish-American Archives of Greater Chicago, has been on campus since the 1960s.

The archives are administered alongside the collections of North Park University and the Evangelical Covenant Church by Jenner in the F.M. Johnson Archives and Special Collections, located in the lower level of Brandel Library.

The project aims to make the entire journal freely available and searchable in full-text through the online library catalog at Brandel Library. Journals covering 2000-2001 went online in March.

The project is a major undertaking and won’t be completed until December, Jenner says. “We have been working on the program almost full time since January.”

Each page must be individually scanned into PDF format, and then a computer program enables the documents to be searchable. Digitization should move more quickly now that the infrastructure is in place, Jenner adds. Although the articles will be scanned, catalog data such as the table of contents, author and subject information, still must be entered by hand.

The work on the Quarterly is one of the first digitalization projects for the archives at the University. The Pro Suecia Foundation has awarded previous grants to the Swedish-American Historical Society and North Park’s Center for Scandinavian Studies, but this was the first for digitization, Jenner says.

North Park Theological Seminary professor Philip J. Anderson, who serves as president of the Swedish-American Historical Society, notes that the project “will benefit the growing transatlantic cooperative network of universities, libraries, archives, and cultural organizations in North America and Sweden, in which our Society continues to take an active role.”

(Photo courtesy of the Swedish-American Archives of Greater Chicago.)