NSU Library awarded NEH grant to preserve oral history interviews

View of outside of library

ABERDEEN, S.D. – A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities will allow the Northern State University Library to resume its work preserving and increasing access to oral history interviews.

The $49,397 NEH CARES Grant will fund Williams Library’s work generating transcripts and making them accessible in the library’s digital repository a project that was stalled due to the COVID-19 virus.

“The end product will be searchable, readily available, oral history interviews and transcripts,” said NSU Library Director Robert Russell. “These interviews are in demand by researchers who are interested in various aspects of Germans from Russia culture along with historians interested in the Great Plains.”

Funding will also be used to realign the library’s digital lab to comply with social distancing guidelines, and to purchase an additional workstation that would be used to digitize other Germans from Russia collections.

Russell said the library’s primary audience for these items have been older researchers and genealogists, whose in-person access continues to be limited by the pandemic.

“By making materials available electronically, we can continue to assist researchers and stay engaged with the Germans from Russia research community that might otherwise not be able to visit our facility,” he said.

The project also includes an educational/outreach component: The library plans to work with the NSU History Department to create guided lesson plans to utilize these digital resources in high school-level history courses. This will be especially valuable to regional educators, as it will allow them to access the collections without making a trip to campus.

About the South Dakota Germans from Russia Cultural Center

The mission of the South Dakota Germans from Russia Cultural Center is to preserve the history and heritage of South Dakota Germans from Russia. Located at Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., the center preserves collections of documents, artifacts, oral history interviews and a print research collection. The center also features both permanent and temporary exhibits highlighting the lifestyle, religion and education of German-Russian culture. The Germans from Russia Cultural Center is on the second floor of Williams Library, and is available to the general public anytime the library is open. For more information, contact Robert Russell at 605-626-7770 or via email at Robert.russell@northern.edu.

About Northern State University

Northern State University is a regional university that offers outstanding academics and exceptional extracurricular activities at an affordable price on a safe, welcoming campus. Northern State recently announced its Educational Impact Campaign, with a goal of raising $55 million for a new South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, new athletic and recreation fields, and an on-campus regional sports complex. Once the campaign is complete, NSU will be the recipient of more than $100 million in privately funded building projects and scholarships within a decade. To learn more, visit NSU Admissions.