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David Walton

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December 12, 2013

Laypeople’s Role in Cultural and Heritage Preservation

December 12, 2013 | By | No Comments

Laypeople and community organizations can aid scholars and professionals dedicated to digitizing African American culture and heritage in four important ways.  First, scanning photographs, obituaries, organizational documents, class photos, workplace photos, and other documents (such as report cards and newspaper clippings) into digital format will help preserve primary sources that will prove valuable for students, educators and researchers.  Secondly, due to the rapid increase in technology, such as digital cameras, camera phones, iPads, and etc.; anyone can quickly and easily take digital photographs.  Photographs of important historical sites of your community and/or organization are valuable assets in the cause of digitizing African American culture and heritage. Further, photographs of sites, events and people that the community presently deems important are also valuable assets in the process of cultural and heritage preservation, as well as family gatherings such as weddings, funerals, family reunions, graduations and etc.

Thirdly, due to the rapid increase in technology, such as digital cameras, camera phones, iPads, and etc.; anyone can quickly and easily record digital video recordings.  Video recordings of important historical sites of your community and/or organization are valuable assets in the cause of digitizing African American culture and heritage. Further, video recordings of sites, events and people that the community presently deems important are also valuable assets in the process of cultural and heritage preservation, as well as family gatherings such as weddings, funerals, family reunions, graduations and etc.

Lastly, the use of digital media and social networking platforms are also an important and valuable site for laypeople and community organizations to aid in the preservation and documentation of African American culture and heritage.  Uploading and/or sharing the previous stated assets to social networking sites is a fast, simple and easy way to provide wide access to those assets.  Yet, there are drawbacks.  Those drawbacks include the lost of exclusive rights and absolute ownership of those assets.

Ultimately, when appropriate, the donation of those assets to local libraries, institutes, historical societies, institutions of higher education and most importantly, entities dedicated to the digitizing and preservation African American culture and heritage is the suggested recourse to ensure the proper and responsible use of those assets.  In addition, digital family trees that include video and photographs are also very valuable assets in the cause of digitizing and preservation African American culture and heritage.  Personal, family and community histories often form the backbone for any cultural preservation project.  Things that often seem insignificant to individuals hold the highest value to those interested in cultural preservation.  I encourage everyone to discuss these matters with their families, friends, organizations and such.  You too can be pioneers in aim of digitizing and preservation African American culture and heritage.

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