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Back Down Memory (or Lilac) Lane

Posted Dec. 12, 2011 | Sarah James

Past editions of the Kent State yearbook available in digital format

enter photo description
Past editions of the Kent State yearbook
Chestnut Burr are now available in digital
format.

Flipping through pages in a Kent State yearbook brings back memories of fun around campus, Homecomings, Renaissance Balls, sledding on front campus, Halloween and many others. Now, faculty, staff, students and alumni will be able to look back on the Kent State of yesteryear in digital format.

The student-produced Chestnut Burr was first published in 1914, remaining a fixture of university life until 1985. The Chestnut Burr covered campus life, student organizations, clubs, athletics, traditions and other notable events. The events surrounding May 4, 1970, were covered extensively in the 1971 edition.

“It is Kent State's history. It tells part of our story and one that is worth telling to the world,” says James Bracken, dean of University Libraries. “The magic of digitization can make that story readily accessible to the world.”

The library spends nearly $5 million per year on acquiring outside content. The Chestnut Burr is homegrown content, free to digitalize.

Through the LYRASIS Mass Digitization Collaborative, University Libraries was able to digitally archive the Chestnut Burr through a Sloan Foundation grant-subsidized program.

Readers can flip through the four-color yearbook online or download the full text as a PDF or eBook file, including a Kindle format. You can browse yearbooks by date or search for a name or term across all yearbooks.

Bracken says he suspects the digital archives will lead to an increase in those interested in visiting the physical archives on the 12th floor of University Library.

“It makes sense. When more people know about a resource likethe Burr, they want to follow-up the online access by seeing and handling the physical object,” he says.

Head of special collections and archives Cara Gilgenbach says that the university has received several alumni requests for digital copies of the Chestnut Burr over the years. Although the Alumni Association has a few editions in its personal library, digital versions will help connect students and alumni to the university more efficiently.

“We’ve recently celebrated our Centennial. It’s time to look back at our history,” says Gilgenbach. “It is a way to connect with alumni who may not have a research need but want to browse the yearbooks to remember their time at Kent State.”

The digital Chestnut Burr portal is located at www.library.kent.edu/burr/index.php.

For more information about the digital Chestnut Burr, visit www.library.kent.edu/digital or contact Gilgenbach at cgilgenb@kent.edu.