Utah Academic Library Consortium

Utah Academic Library Consortium

The Utah Academic Library Consortium has Utah
higher education covered. UALC is a powerful network of
public and private academic libraries from accredited Utah higher education
institutions with one goal in mind: to connect Utah students, faculty,
researchers, and citizens to superior higher education resources. UALC saves the state of Utah, in fact the
citizens Utah, thousands of dollars every year. By combining the purchasing power of all of our
libraries, we are able to acquire resources much more inexpensively than we could ever do our own. Without
UALC, the students and faculty of this state simply wouldn’t enjoy the
support they do today. It’s miraculous. When I was a student
there was no possible way you could access a journal except pulling it off the shelf. Journal
subscriptions are so expensive to buy the actual journal, that we
couldn’t afford it, but going in with the other research
libraries in the state and getting the access to these
journals through this database puts us right on the same level as
University of Utah students. Our students can compete with them
in the quality of research they can do. Of course that works for me to with my
research. I could pretty much find anything I need for my research through accessing the library’s database system. If my school doesn’t have what I need I know I’ll find it at another
Utah College Library. With legislative support the consortium
has partnered with school and public libraries to develop statewide
initiatives. Pioneer, Utah’s online library, has
connected Utah’s schools, colleges, universities, and citizens with hundreds of high-quality online
resources for the past decade. UALC’s latest endeavor, the
Mountain West Digital Library, connects the entire state with the
infrastructure to preserve Utah’s past, present, and future. The Mountain West Digital Library is a
collaborative effort among the state’s universities, colleges,
public libraries, state agencies, Historical Societies, and
museums, an effort to pull all of our valuable
educational materials together, digitize them, and make them available
statewide on the web. Every region of the state has access to a Mountain West
Digital Library hub, or hosting institution, that provides the
expertise equipment and training to digitize
collections of the surrounding area. Currently 10 hubs are connecting 48
partners across the state. The Mountain West Digital Library was created in an effort to digitize and
preserve all types of resources important to our state: images, maps, government documents, oral histories, and more. Over 250,000
items are currently included and thousands more are being added each
year. The Mountain West Digital Library makes it easy and affordable for our collections
partners to digitize and share their materials. Over eleven thousand Japanese-Americans
were taken, mostly from the Bay Area, into Topaz and my students and I began a project on
that in about 1982 and we started collecting different
things. Some of the things we’ve collected are
photographs and we put them on the University of Utah
digital sites so that people can search and find them. We’ve worked with BYU, University of Utah, Utah State University,
they’ve all contributed so much to help us. The Mountain West Digital Library has served as a really powerful model and other states have
picked up on that. We have other consortia working with us
in collaboration in Nevada and in Idaho on similar projects. The newest addition
to UALC’s Mountain West Digital Library is the
development of Utah digital newspapers. This database currently includes more
than six hundred thousand pages of Utah historical newspapers
dating back to the 1850s. It’s a real joy being a Utah historian
because the state is such a treasure trove of great
tales. It’s the Ali Baba’s cave of great
history and the Utah digital newspapers project
provides a way into that cave of these phenomenal stories about your family, about Utah’s past, about its peoples. It’s an essential tool for the modern historian. The goal of Utah digital newspapers is to create citizen historians
connecting Utahns with their heritage. Using the Mountain
West Digital Library collection I was able to find my family’s cattle
brands through the cattle brand registry, the triangle ‘R’ and the flying ‘N’, and I
was able to trace back this this part of my my family.
Even though I’m not a rancher it is significant to me that these symbols are meaningful to my
family and to the history of Utah. Utah digital
newspapers also provide primary research material to students, faculty, and researchers
across the state. Newspaper back issues continue to
deteriorate, we are in a race against time to
preserve them back to their inception. The Deseret News issue 1 page 1 1850
said it best, “A paper that is worth printing is worth
preserving.” The Utah Academic Library Consortium has Utah covered.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

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