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Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

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April 15, 2024

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The Library’s Role in Preserving TKS History


The TKS Exhibit outside the Archives, compiled by Hala Halabi.

The small mysterious room on the Second floor of the Seymour library with red carpets and Victorian decor stores all the secrets on this campus. While the Special Collections and Archives room does not yet have a YikYak archive, it houses issues of The Knox Student dating back to the 1870s. Recently, library staff collaborated with the Special Collection and Archives department to digitize the TKS archive and open new avenues for student research.

“The first step in every research is to get to know what everyone knows, and find out what is already written,” Assistant Librarian for Special Collections and Archives, Joseph Taylor, said
The digitization process began as the COVID-19 pandemic hit and there was an increased need to make research and informative material widely available and accessible virtually. This project was initiated by the Director of the Seymour Library, Anne Thomason, who rallied library staff, including the Associate Librarian for Digital Initiatives and Collections, Laurie Sauer and Taylor to complete this project. Sauer said that the process began around November of 2021, and took up about 15-16 months to complete.

The library staff and student workers collected all the issues of TKS. When an issue had multiple copies, they picked the one in the best condition. The next step included the tedious and labor intensive process of creating an inventory with the date, length and condition of each issue. The physical copies were then sent off to an external scanning company, which helped create the digital file. This file was reviewed another time by the staff to make sure that the lengths of each issue was preserved. 

Both Sauer and Taylor agreed that while there is no concrete plan to digitize other student publications such as Catch, they welcome future plans to do so. 

“Digitization helps preserve data longer and makes it widely accessible. However, we cannot digitize everything,” Taylor said. 

He pointed at the debate in library and archival sciences regarding the need to make data accessible through digitization while protecting the role of libraries with physical data with medicated standards. He also highlighted the labor-intensive nature of the process, which renders it nearly impossible to digitize everything. 

The digital collection can be a reminder for the larger campus community about the role library staff plays in helping us continue to create history by learning about the traditions of Knox and those who came before us. Sauer also reminds us of the role of these archives in creating a reminiscent space for alumni who fondly recall their time at Knox.

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About the Contributor
Areesha Saif
Areesha Saif, Staff Writer
Areesha Saif '24 (she/her) is a Political Science major at Knox. She has been working as a Staff Writer since Winter 2023. She grew up in Karachi, Pakistan, which in her very biased opinion, has the best food in the world. Awards: Honorable Mention Critical Review ICPA 2024

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