Kent State University Library Digitizes Kent Stater Collection, Works to Digitize May 4 Collection

The Kent State University Library offers a tremendous amount of resources to its students and the Kent community. One one of these resources is a digitized collection of The Kent Stater. The collection goes as far back as 1939 and currently includes issues of the paper up until 1999.

Cara Gilgenbach, head of Special Collections and Archives for the Kent State University Library, has played a major part in digitizing collections of The Kent Stater.

“It’s been a huge undertaking for the library,” she said. “But we’ve made a lot of progress in the last few years.”

Gilgenbach said The Kent Stater digital archives are popular among students and alumni alike, especially for research purposes. Users can browse the archives by date or can search for specific names or terms.

Gilgenbach said before The Kent Stater was digitized, librarians would have needed to pull out the original bound volumes of the paper and physically flip through them to fill certain requests. Now they can refer specific inquiries to The Kent Stater digital archives.

The idea to digitize The Kent Stater was influenced by the Dean of University Libraries, James Bracken, who previously worked at The Ohio State University. Ohio State had already digitized back editions of their campus newspaper, and Bracken thought offering digital access to The Kent State would be very beneficial to students.

Anyone can access the digital archives of The Kent Stater by going to

The Kent State University Library is also in the beginning stages of digitizing its very popular May 4 collection.

As the 50th anniversary of the May 4 shootings at Kent State approach, Gilgenbach says there has been high use of and high demand for the May 4 collection.  

“The popularity will only increase as the 50th anniversary approaches,” she said.

The process of digitizing the collection has been slower due to its size. The collection spans 300 cubic feet, but progress is being made. The library has digitized nearly 500 photographs from the May 4 collection over the years.

The collection may be called “May 4,” but it is made up of many unique sub-collections such as the “John C. Weiser papers,” which includes audio from events following May 4, 1970, like speeches made at memorial services and recordings from the Kent State University Commencement following the shootings.

Anyone interested in learning more about May 4, 1970, and the collection can browse at

POSTED: Wednesday, May 04, 2016 02:45 PM
Updated: Sunday, February 05, 2023 03:06 AM