NU Libraries receives federal grant to digitize folk music festival archive

Allyson Chiu, Campus Editor

Northwestern University Libraries received nearly $300,000 from a federal grant, which will be used to digitize, describe and make available online a historic folk music archive, the University announced Wednesday.

According to a news release, the digitization of the Berkeley Folk Music Festival Archive will be funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency that funds humanities programs in the U.S. The archive –– which features more than 30,000 items, including photographs, audio and film recordings, brochures, buttons, posters, tickets and business records documenting the festival between 1957 to 1970 –– was acquired by NU’s Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections in 1974, the release said. The archive was compiled by the festival’s founder, Barry Olivier.

Scott Krafft, curator of the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, said in the release that the archive will benefit the fields of history, American studies, music studies and performance, African American studies, digital humanities and political science.

The festival archive will be made available for the public to view online, the release said. The three-year project will require help from the staff of at least six different departments, the release said.

NU’s libraries have previously digitized other collections, but the festival archive is one of the largest projects yet undertaken, Carolyn Caizzi, head of repository and digital curation at the libraries, said in the release.

“The generous support of the grant will allow us to describe each piece of the archive, which is an extremely important aspect of the project to help facilitate the discovery and creation of new knowledge about a range of topics,” Caizzi said in the release. “We can’t wait to get started.”

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