Update on METRO's Documentary Heritage Program


METRO's Documentary Heritage Program (DHP) provides a range of professional development services to keep library and archival communities in our area informed of ongoing advancements in media and archival technologies. Along with planning and cosponsoring events with historical groups and libraries that house historical archives, we offer trainings on state-of-the-art historical records and archival management techniques, including preservation, digitization, risk assessment, and more. With the active involvement of the DHP Advisory Council, we also respond to members' questions about developing, fundraising for, and planning archival projects.

In addition, the DHP provides a subcontract to one library or archive each year in order to "document the under-documented"? by protecting and expanding access to important archival holdings reflective of the New York metropolitan area's rich culture and history. Our current subcontractor is the Asian/Pacific/American Archives Survey, a joint project of the Asian/Pacific/American Institute and NYU's Tamiment Library (a special collection that documents the struggle for progressive social change).

This survey is the first systematic attempt to map Asian/Pacific/American archival collections in the New York metropolitan area. Although the Asian American population in New York doubled in the 1980s and by 2000 comprised 10% of New York's population, A/P/As are, in many ways, a "forgotten minority."? Part of the reason for this lack of visibility is that the A/P/A community is under-documented.

To date, with support from METRO's DHP, the project has surveyed 51 collections, with many more in the works. Ten collections have been transferred to the Tamiment Library and negotiations are underway for several other collections. The project has received considerable attention in the Public History and Archives communities, with presentations by program staff made at the annual meeting of the National Council of Public History, the A rchivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York, and elsewhere.

Along with completing additional surveys, the project is redesigning its website to include links to related projects and a series of upgrades to attract more potential survey participants and better meet the needs of users.

For more information about the DHP, contact METRO's Executive Director Dottie Hiebing at 212-228-2320 x 10 or dhiebing@metro.org.

Sam Streed
Author: Sam Streed
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