Doug Ballman, manager of external relations of the online archive at USC Shoah Foundation, paid a visit to North Carolina’s three Visual History Archive access sites earlier this month to receive feedback from librarians and give public presentations about the archive.
The trip is the first in a series of site visits around the world Ballman will embark on to reconnect with partners and provide ongoing support for the universities and museums that provide full access to the Visual History Archive.
Ballman visited UNC Chapel Hill, UNC Greensboro and Duke University, which all share access through UNC Chapel Hill. At each university, he met with the main point person for the Visual History Archive: Robert S. Dalton, subject librarian for history, religious studies and Jewish studies at UNC Chapel Hill; Rachel Ariel, librarian for Jewish Studies at Duke, and Roy Schwartzman, communication studies professor and former USC Shoah Foundation teaching fellow at UNC Greensboro.
Each point person met with Ballman to offer feedback and suggestions for how USC Shoah Foundation staff can help improve and grow the use of the archive at their university. Dalton suggested making the metadata of the archive (each testimony’s keywords and other identifying data) available in the library’s catalog. That way, library patrons who are looking up materials in the cataloging system could also easily discover Visual History Archive testimonies that are relevant to their searches.
Ariel suggested creating a list of topics in the Visual History Archive that are relevant to undergraduate subject areas and providing a curated list of testimonies or segments that speak to these subjects.
Ballman also gave public presentations about USC Shoah Foundation and the Visual History Archive at each site. These presentations included an overview of the content in the archive as well as an in-depth demonstration of how to conduct research in the archive. Schwartzman said the presentation at UNC Greensboro was extremely useful because there had never been a public demonstration of the archive on campus before. This was the first time students and other potential users had the opportunity to learn about the archive and USC Shoah Foundation from an expert.
In the fall, Ballman plans to visit the Canadian access sites – University of Toronto, McMaster University and University of Ottawa.